Introduction: Many patients in the United Kingdom having radiotherapy for breast cancer are recommended not to use a deodorant during treatment. The advice is not evidence based, it is solely thought as deodorants contained metals, which would react with radiation and cause an increased skin reaction. Hence this research was undertaken to establish whether patients having a course of radiotherapy for breast cancer could use a deodorant as part of their daily routine.
Method: The research took place between May 2004 and February 2005. A total of 192 breast cancer patients were recruited. This included breast or chest-wall patients with or without axilla involvement. The study was designed with two groups. Group 1 used no deodorant and Group 2 a specific deodorant. The researcher reviewed patients weekly, assessing skin reactions and recording the researcher and patient's observations.
Results: Most patients experienced no reaction or mild erythema and dry desquamation in the axilla. This was observed in both groups. Therefore, findings of this study indicate that future breast cancer patients should be given the choice of using this deodorant.
Further recommendations: Test the reliability of the skin assessment form, extend the research to include other patient groups who have their axilla treated, test different deodorants.