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Non-invasive superficial radiation therapy treats non-melanoma skin cancers in Algonquin, IL patients
Posted by Dr. Vikram Khanna
Finding out you have skin cancer can be scary, even when you are told that it is non-melanoma. Algonquin dermatologists at Dermatology Specialists of Illinois understand the gravity of a cancer diagnosis, which is why we offer our patients education, support, and highly effective treatment options. For many patients impacted by basal or squamous cell carcinomas, superficial radiation treatment (SRT) is a great way to eliminate the cancer while minimizing the impact of treatment on their appearance. In the following article, we’ll take a closer look at how superficial radiation treatment works, and its benefits.
What is superficial radiation therapy?
Superficial radiation therapy is a non-surgical form of skin cancer treatment that destroys non-melanoma cancer cells without the need for excision. With SRT, patients can enjoy a successful treatment without the downtime or side effects associated with surgery. Patients love that SRT therapy can be used on cosmetically sensitive areas like the eyelids, nose, and ears without the fear of surgical scarring. At our office, we use the SRT-100™.
What is Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer?
Of the three main types of skin cancer, two are non-melanoma: squamous cell and basal cell. Basal cells are located in the base layer of the skin.
Basal cell cancers are typically slow growing and rarely spread beyond their initial location, although they can expand wide and deep, making it a potentially disfiguring cancer.
Squamous cells makeup most of the outer layer of skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is less common than basal cell carcinoma, however this type of cancer is more likely to grow and spread.
The SRT-100 uses low-dose radiation to destroy non-melanoma skin cancer cells and keloid-forming tumor cells. The superficial radiation penetrates only five millimeters into the skin, leaving healthy tissue unharmed.
Patients who have a positively confirmed non-melanoma skin cancer will begin with a consultation to determine if SRT therapy is the best option. Determining if a patient is a suitable candidate for SRT therapy depends on the location, size, type, and stage of the cancer.
One SRT session takes only a few minutes to complete after the patient has been prepared. The highly specialized device is calibrated to only deliver the radiation therapy where it’s needed and to leave healthy tissue intact. Most non-melanoma cancers require anywhere between 8 and 15 treatment sessions.
Unlike surgical treatments, there is no downtime or recovery after SRT therapy. There is also less risk of scarring and infection with radiation therapy.
Is superficial radiation therapy safe and effective?
SRT therapy is effective on non-melanoma skin cancers because they tend to be localized and slower to spread than melanoma. In fact, SRT therapy is often considered equally effective as a Mohs excision and even more effective than a non-Mohs excision.
The SRT-100 device was designed specifically to treat skin cancer and differs from radiation therapy for internal malignant tumors. Since the radiation only needs to penetrate just below the skin surface, it uses a fraction of the energy of traditional radiation, making it very safe.
Side effects from SRT-100 treatment
There are very few side effects from superficial radiation therapy. Usually after three to four treatments, patients may notice that the skin becomes pink and might be slightly scaly or crusty. Rarely, a wound or ulcer may form temporarily at the treatment site If the area is painful, patients should report that immediately to Dr. Khanna. If the skin cancer is located near the scalp, patients may experience some localized hair loss.
After treatment, the pinkness will fade back to normal skin color with minimal to no scarring. In the years following treatment, some patients may experience a lightening of the skin on the treated area.
Benefits of SRT-100 therapy
Minimal to no scarring
Multiple cancers can be treated at once
If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s important to know that you have options for treatment. Whether you decide to move forward with SRT-100 superficial radiation therapy or another form of treatment, our team can help. You are not alone when it comes to a skin cancer diagnosis. If you have a suspicious spot that needs to be checked out, or if you have a confirmed cancer diagnosis and would like a second opinion, call us today at (844) 307-7546.