Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), 1 in 5 people will develop a form of skin cancer in their lifetimes. Most of these skin malignancies are basal cell and squamous (non-melanoma cancers), which have higher treatment and survivorship rates than melanomas. Traditional treatment options for skin cancer involve surgically removing the cancer and a margin of surrounding tissue, which may cause scarring and disfigurement. Superficial radiation therapy (SRT) for skin cancer is a non-surgical alternative to orthodox excisions. Here at Buckeye Dermatology AZ, we provide SRT as an option for those seeking a less invasive approach.
What Is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the unimpeded growth of abnormal skin cells. It can develop for several reasons, but overexposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning beds is the most common cause. Age is also a significant risk factor for skin cancer, with most cases of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas appearing after age 50. While these malignancies are not as life-threatening as other cancers, undergoing regular screenings is necessary to diagnose them early.
What Is Radiation?
Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, is a medical technique that treats, controls, and/or cures certain diseases by delivering invisible rays of high-energy radiation into malignant cells in the body. The process damages the DNA inside the cancer cell, causing it to die.
For decades, doctors have been using radiation therapy as a treatment for different cancers, especially when the disease is localized in one area and has not yet spread to other parts of the body.
Radiotherapy is also commonly used as a form of adjuvant therapy. Adjuvant therapy refers to medical treatments that a physician combines with a patient’s primary treatment in the hopes of optimizing the effects. For instance, if lung cancer has metastasized or spread to multiple areas of the body, an oncologist may use chemotherapy to attack cancer as a whole and use radiation therapy to target specific tumors or clusters of malignant cells.
What Is Superficial Radiation Therapy?
This revolutionary skin cancer treatment is a superficial, low-energy radiation that uses a precise beam to target the area beneath the skin where cancer cells are found. It targets non-melanoma cancer cells without compromising healthy tissue.
Buckeye Dermatology Superficial Radiation Therapy for skin cancer in Scottsdale, AZ is effective for non-melanoma skin cancers on the head and neck. In some cases, SRT may also treat skin cancers on the back, stomach, arms, and legs.
SRT therapy may also help patients with keloids. Keloids are raised scars that often appear after an injury or surgical procedure. Although keloids are noncancerous, they can be unsightly and sometimes cause pain and tenderness. Furthermore, keloids may grow back bigger than before following a seemingly successful surgical removal. Superficial radiation therapy destroys the cells that formed the keloid, leaving the skin smooth and even. Depending on the keloid’s overall size, multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve desirable results.
Superficial Radiation Therapy for Skin Cancer vs. Surgery
Surgery has long been the most common treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers, particularly for minor and early cases. Since squamous and basal cell carcinomas are usually small and slow-growing, most physicians may recommend surgery as the best treatment. Through various surgical procedures, including Buckeye Dermatology Mohs surgery, cryosurgery, and curettage with electrosurgery, a surgeon can quickly remove the malignancy before it grows, spreads, and causes further damage. The efficacy of each surgical method is different, but all have relatively high curative rates.
The main upper hand of superficial radiation therapy versus surgery is that most patients prefer non-invasive procedures. The quick process and recovery time are additional reasons SRT is an excellent skin cancer treatment option. A patient can walk out of the doctor’s office after a skin cancer radiation session and head straight home, back to the office, go grocery shopping, or do whatever they want. In most cases, there is no scarring involved, and any visible marks are subtle and minimal. SRT patients do not need to worry about disfigurement, even if skin cancer is on the face. Superficial radiation therapy also reduces the chance of nerve damage, meaning patients are less prone to experiencing loss of control over a limb or other body part.
Since wound care is minimal with SRT treatment for skin cancer, there is also no postprocedural care to stress about, which is most beneficial to elderly patients or people with limited mobility.
Top Benefits of Superficial Radiation Therapy
SRT provides an effective treatment for basal and squamous cell carcinoma in many cases. The specific advantages of superficial radiotherapy as a skin cancer treatment include:
- High cure rate, as SRT offers a success rate of over 97 percent
- Quick treatment, with the total time of each session being 15 minutes, more or less
- Painless procedure
- No anesthesia
- No cuts and stitches
- Minimal scarring
- Fast healing
- No skin reconstruction is necessary
- No risk of post-surgical infections
- A safer option for patients who have poor overall health or an underlying condition that could cause complications during surgery
If you are searching for an alternative to skin cancer surgery and these benefits are intriguing to you, superficial radiation therapy may be the solution you seek. For more information about SRT therapy, call 602-754-6075 or drop by our office to schedule a consultation with some of the leading providers of SRT treatment in Arizona.
Choose Buckeye Dermatology for Advanced Skin Cancer Treatments
Our team of dermatologists and skin specialists has several years of training and experience in diagnosing and treating skin cancers. Our mission is to ensure each patient who entrusted their care to our professional hands receives the most advanced skin cancer treatments available. If you or someone in your life has skin cancer, allow us to devise a treatment plan that will work best for each unique case.
In addition to SRT for skin malignancies, Buckeye Dermatology AZ also specializes in traditional and modern skin cancer treatments, including brachytherapy, Mohs therapy, electrodesiccation and curettage, chemotherapy, and cryotherapy. Send us a message to set an appointment and find out which treatment is best for your unique situation.