Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Every year, over four million Americans are treated for skin cancer. Over thirty percent of those who live to be 65 or older will have had either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once.
There are three main types of skin cancer, each likely to occur on body parts that are exposed to the sun. Skin cancer can occur on any skin tone. Fortunately, a wide range of treatments can be performed including radiation therapy and Xoft® Electronic Brachytherapy.
What is radiation therapy?
In radiation therapy, the doctor uses a machine that emits powerful energy beams like X-rays to kill the cancer cells and it can be used to treat all three major types of skin cancer (basal cell, squamous cell or melanoma.) Radiation therapy is also used to treat skin cancers that metastasized to lymph nodes or other organs. It can also be used in conjunction with other treatments like surgery. It can also be used instead of surgery if the patient is in poor health.
The energy most commonly used to treat skin cancer is called electron beam radiation. The machine emits a beam of electrons that go only as far as the skin and thus doesn’t damage other tissues or organs.
The procedure is similar to getting an X-ray, but the radiation is both stronger and more precise. The treatment is painless and takes only a few minutes.
What is electronic brachytherapy?
In electronic brachytherapy, a small electronic source is used to deliver radiation near the cancer site. They have the advantages of needing less special handling and can be turned on and off. Additionally, the procedure requires fewer treatments than radiation therapy. The Xoft® system comes with a safety feature called the FlexiShield that protects healthy tissues from the electronic radiation. Xoft® Electronic Brachytherapy is generally used to treat basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer.
If you have any questions regarding either radiation therapy or Xoft® Electronic Brachytherapy, contact Doctor’s Approach for a consultation. At Doctor’s Approach, we are dedicated to ensuring patients receive the highest quality skin care. We welcome the opportunity to review your concerns and customize a treatment plan for your dermatology needs. Contact us today to get started.