Supportive Care

When the Patient Seeks Cure: Challenging Chemotherapy and Radiation Side Effects Requiring Creative Solutions

Aurelie C. Cormier

Lorraine Drapek

Jean Fahey

Brenna Rowen

Betty Burns-Britton

Maria Lavadinho-Lemos

Todd Hultman

rectal cancer, concomitant chemoradiotherapy, radiation dermatitis, pain
CJON 2016, 20(2), 117-120. DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.117-120

When undergoing concomitant chemotherapy and radiation therapy for anal cancer, patients often experience significant side effects, including grade 1 or 2 radiation dermatitis, pain, exudate, and diarrhea. This case study presents a grade 3 reaction complicated by complex medical conditions. In addition to an evidence-based skin care treatment and side effect management plan that support patients during this intense period, this article offers creative strategies to provide a cost-effective healing option.

At a Glance

  • Patients receiving concomitant chemotherapy and radiation therapy for anal cancer may experience erythema and dry desquamation (grade 1), moist desquamation and blistering (grade 2), pain, and diarrhea, all of which present nursing challenges.
  • Patient education regarding prophylactic skin care is of paramount importance for these patients to prevent or minimize severe radiation dermatitis.
  • Grade 3 radiation dermatitis includes confluent moist desquamation and bleeding, requiring a break from treatment; this situation often requires the consultation of a wound care specialist.
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