Up to 80% of cancer patients experience treatment-related contraindications on their skin. Skin reactions are, in fact, associated with the main therapies including chemotherapy drugs. To combat them, the aesthetic treatment protocols carried out by the Specialists in Oncological Aesthetics APEO – Professional Association of Oncological Aesthetics have been developed. The VISSIA study is now starting, which aims to evaluate whether these interventions can significantly reduce perceived skin symptoms and psychological distress, thus improving the quality of life of people undergoing therapy. The Ethics Committee for Clinical Trials of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, chaired by Luca Sebastianelli, announced the approval of the request of the Complementary Medicine Division of the Merano Health District in collaboration with the Oncology Division of the Bolzano Health District for participation in the VISSIA study “Evaluation of the quality of life in patients with toxicity? from antiblastic treatments. Randomized controlled study of a specific dermocosmetic protocol versus standard treatment – VISSIA study” proposed by the Alto Adige Health Authority.
“To date, skin toxicity due to oncological treatments represents an unmet clinical need – he declares Giuseppe Cristina, Medical Director of the Complementary Medicine Service of the Merano Hospital -. It constitutes an unrecognized problem with significant repercussions on daily activities and adherence to treatment. Complementary Medicine deals with improving the quality of life of patients diagnosed with cancer. For this reason, together with all the parties involved, he designed and promotes the study, which aims to define a proactive approach through early recognition of skin toxicities and a specific dermatological treatment that can promote the optimization of antiblastic treatments for the clinician ”. “Since the 1980s, numerous discoveries have allowed researchers to better understand the mechanisms responsible for the neoplastic transformation of cells and, consequently, to identify new targets that can be attacked by molecules and monoclonal antibodies known as target therapies – continues Luca Tondulli, Head of the Medical Oncology Department of the Bolzano Hospital -. The transition from “generalist” medicine to “precision” medicine, on the one hand led to an unquestionable improvement in the effectiveness of treatments compared to previous chemotherapy drugs, on the other hand required clinicians to recognize and treat new forms of toxicity, peculiar to recent therapies. These include skin toxicity, a side effect common to several drugs and also quite frequent, which is characterized by the appearance of functional, organic and aesthetic alterations affecting the skin, hair and nails. These events represent real discomfort for the patient, and are often little known and underestimated. However, they can constitute a serious problem which can make it difficult to tolerate therapies and, by negatively impacting the psycho-physical well-being of the individual, compromising their adherence to potentially very effective treatments. The Medical Oncology Department of the Bolzano Hospital welcomed the opportunity to join a study promoted by the Complementary Medicine Department of the Merano Hospital aimed at the early recognition of this type of toxicity and their timely treatment. Only thanks to an immediate and specific intervention, in fact, will it be possible to improve the tolerability of treatments and the quality of life of patients, consequently promoting the continuity of their therapeutic path.”
The Vissia studio
The study will be conducted following rigorous predefined protocols, thus guaranteeing maximum precision and reliability of the results. A fundamental element of this process will be the active participation of the APEO Oncological Aesthetics Specialist, Olga Manko, whose expert contribution in the management of aesthetic treatments in oncology contexts is expected to bring added value to the research. “We are extremely satisfied with the approval of the VISSIA Study by the Ethics Committee – he comments Carolina Ambra Redaelli, President of APEO, Professional Association of Oncological Aesthetics -. This study represents a step forward in our understanding of the benefits of APEO protocols in supporting cancer patients. We are confident that the results of this study, together with those of 2019, will confirm the effectiveness of aesthetic treatments and specific cosmetic products in reducing distress and improving SRQoL. This confirmation underlines the importance of including scientifically validated aesthetic treatments in oncology therapy.”
by Irma D’Aria
“The Board of Directors of the Tumor Assistance Alto Adige – Südtiroler Krebshilfe perceived the importance of this project from the beginning because the APEO protocol aims to improve the so-called SRQoL, Skin-related Quality of Life – he comments Maria Claudia Bertagnolli, Vice President of the Tumor Assistance Alto Adige-Südtiroler Krebshilfe -. The negative effects of oncological therapies increase stress, social self-isolation, mood disorders with the consequent risk of interrupting oncological therapy. For this reason, the prevention and management of skin reactions are acquiring ever greater importance with a view to promoting adherence to therapy, as well as the well-being of patients.”