Dermatitis Caused Due To Exposure To Radiation Can Be Controlled Using Manuka Honey

Breast cancer is on an alarming increase all over the world. Radiation and chemotherapy are the most successfully used treatments for the disease. However, these treatments cause side effects, the common of them being dermatitis, which is caused due to exposure to radiation. Latest research has now unearthed a potential solution for dermatitis – use of manuka honey. The study has been carried out by Waikato District Health Board in Hamilton, New Zealand and the study is headed by Nichola Naidoo.Dermatitis is a problem of the skin which is most commonly caused in people who take radiations to the chest or breast wall. It is caused due to serotonin, histamine and cytokines, which are released when the body is exposed to excess radiation.

For the study, the researchers considered eighty one breast cancer patients who were scheduled to undergo beam radiation therapy. They were administered manuka honey or aqueous creams twice a day. The application began from the day of radiation therapy and was carried on for ten days after radiation therapy was completed. Manuka honey was used in the form of a sterilized product. The product contained no other active ingredient.

Digital photography and an examination procedure called Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, which scores toxicity on acute toxicity scale, were used to study the extent of toxicity on the skin. It was found that toxicity reduced when manuka honey was applied on the skin of patients undergoing radiation treatment when compared to people who used aqueous solutions. As of now, there is no ointment or cream that helps in treating radiation induced dermatitis.

Manuka honey is supposed to have medicinal properties that help in healing. The honey is prepared by bees, which take the nectar of flowers from the manuka bush. The bees use only this flower in honey preparation. These bees are found in New Zealand. The honey is found to have high levels of wound repair, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Now, it has proved very useful in healing dermatitis caused due to radiation.

When rated on a scale of 1 to 10, honey rated 9.3 in easy application process when compared to 7.1 of creams. The comfort that patients experienced was rated 9 for honey use against 6.1 of cream usage and acceptability was rated 9.2 for honey compared to 8.6 for creams.

The use of honey is a natural treatment and does not cause any kind of chemical reactions. It is safe for application. It was also found in the research that the kind of surgery and the dose of radiation received did not influence the positive effects of manuka honey.