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Review examines the effects of aloe vera on patients who have undergone radiation therapy for cancer

Researchers from St. John Fisher College in New York conducted a comprehensive review to summarize and evaluate the use of aloe vera in patients who have undergone radiation therapy to treat cancer. This article was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

  • Many cancer patients require radiation therapy and often suffer from adverse effects, such as erythema, itching and pain.
  • Aloe vera is used for the prevention and treatment of radiation-related adverse effects because it is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
  • The efficacy of aloe vera in addressing radiation-related side effects has been evaluated in multiple controlled trials.
  • Previous systematic reviews have also examined the use of aloe vera for radiation-induced skin reactions. In fact, updated literature now includes the use of aloe vera for proctitis.
  • The researchers found that while aloe vera may not be effective for prophylaxis or treatment of radiation adverse effects in breast cancer patients, it can be used in combination with mild soap for the treatment of radiation-induced skin reactions.
  • Aloe vera also showed effectiveness when cumulative radiation doses were greater than 2,700 centigray?(cGy) and for acute radiation proctitis.

Despite contradictory findings, there is evidence to support the use of aloe vera in the treatment of radiation-induced adverse effects.

Journal Reference:

Farrugia C-JE, Burke ES, Haley ME, Bedi KT, Gandhi MA. THE USE OF ALOE VERA IN CANCER RADIATION: AN UPDATED COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. May  2019;35:126–130. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.01.013

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