New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York
Resident Physician, Department of Radiation Oncology
Testing a new method for identifying radiation-induced skin toxicity in diverse patients.
Radiation-induced skin side effects are common among women undergoing radiation for breast cancer; but existing scales to measure the severity of these effects are highly subjective and were not designed for patients with darker skin. For this reason, the severity of radiation-induced skin effects in African American and Hispanic patients is not well known. To better understand the extent of radiation-induced skin toxicity, Dr. Purswani will test the utility of a method called objective skin color analysis, to measure radiation-induced skin effects in women with breast cancer. Objective skin color analysis involves using portable devices, called spectrophotometers, to measure the interaction of light with the surface of skin to identify changes in skin color resulting from radiotherapy. The use of these tools will hopefully minimize errors in observation and lead to new insights in our understanding of the effects of radiation in diverse patients.
Patients undergoing treatment with breast or chest wall radiation therapy will receive skin scanning sessions prior to treatment, during their weekly treatment sessions, and for up to one year after completing treatment. The analysis will look for skin color changes, which includes skin darkening and reddening after therapy, and seeks to identify changes unique to skin of color. The study will compare the findings from objective skin color analysis to the clinician-generated grading of skin toxicity and will assess the use of clinical interventions for treating these side effects.
Juhi Purswani, MD is a year 4 resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at New York University (NYU). She graduated with honors in Biology and Society and Global Health from Cornell University and with a three-year accelerated Doctor of Medicine from NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
Dr. Purswani ‘s research focuses on the use of radiation in women with early stage and locally advanced breast cancer. She is interested in investigating the safety and toxicity of hypo-fractionated radiation therapy in patient populations that are under-represented in randomized clinical trials. This work includes investigating the impact of radiation regimens on toxicity and clinical outcomes in women with autoimmune connective tissue diseases and in patients with skin of color. Dr. Purswani is interested in mobilizing innovative digital health technologies in clinical research with the goals of identifying barriers to treatment and evaluating patients’ quality of life, treatment related toxicity, and performance status in real time.
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