It is the set of skin lesions that appear after exposure of the skin to ionizing radiation, either for therapeutic purposes or accidentally. These changes depend on:
  • The total dose received
  • The treated area
  • The depth of penetration of the radiation
  • Individual sensitivity (age, nutritional status, comorbidities, concomitant treatments).

Radiation causes immediate damage to the cells of the germinal layer of the epidermis. It causes a release of free radicals causing oxidative stress, small breaks in the DNA chain and inflammation.

This damage to the germinal cells of the epidermis reduces the regeneration capacity of the skin, making it thinner, redder and more fragile.


Skin photosensitivity phenotype.


Treatment field. Not all areas of the body are equally sensitive.

Dose. The toxic effect of radiotherapy is cumulative depending on the total dose received.

Added risks:

  • Associated treatments such as chemotherapy.
  • Biological treatments.
  • The presence of some diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes.
Inflammatory reaction that affects the mucosa that lines the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum. Like radiodermatitis, mucositis is due to the loss of the regeneration capacity of the epidermis due to the damage that both radiation and chemotherapy cause to the cells of the germinal layer of the epidermis. It affects the quality of life, the ability to feed and the duration and intensity of treatment.


Hand-foot syndrome occurs when drugs used to treat cancer affect the growth of skin cells or capillaries in the hands and feet. May progress to ulceration, infection, and loss of function.

Some chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments can cause acneiform rash, which is a dermatological eruption that manifests mainly in areas rich in sebaceous glands such as: face, neck, retroauricular area, back, upper chest and scalp. 3-4 weeks after its appearance, it usually resolves, leaving an evident dryness.


Dryness of the skin, conjunctiva and other membranes. It is very common after the rash. It is treated with hygiene with specific soaps and hydration.