You have probably heard of radiation therapy being used to treat various types of cancer. Standard radiotherapy targets cancerous cells deep inside the body, penetrating past skin, fat and other tissues to reach and destroy them. However, if you are diagnosed with skin cancer, this type of radiation is unlikely to be appropriate. Instead, you will likely be recommended to undergo superficial radiation therapy, also known as SRT. SRT can also be used to treat other issues affecting the skin such as keloids.
What is superficial radiation therapy?
Superficial radiation therapy, or SRT for short, is a low dose radiotherapy that is designed to penetrate only the outer layers of skin and tissue. As a result, it is ideal for treating non-melanoma , early stage skin cancers
The radiation itself is usually a completely painless process, although patients do need to sit or lie very still while the treatment takes place. The radiation is focused on the target areas where the beam penetrates the surface of the skin and gets to work destroying the cancerous cells.
In the case of SRT, the treatment is usually provided as a course of two treatment sessions per week. However, exactly how long each treatment will be and how many sessions you will require will depend on the size and depth of the area being treated, as well as how your body responds to the radiation. Generally speaking, the treatments last around 30 seconds long.
Side effects of superficial radiation therapy
The side effects of SRT are usually mild and don’t tend to begin until a few weeks into the treatment. These can include red skin andscabbing You will be closely monitored for side effects during and after your treatment is complete. Your dermatologist will be able to give you specific advice for dealing with the side effects that you experience.
Skin cancers that can be treated using SRT
Superficial radiation therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a number of different types of skin cancer, including:
Basal cell carcinoma: the type of skin cancer that most often develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun.
Squamous cell carcinoma: a common skin cancer that develops in the middle and outer layers of the skin.
If you are suffering from any of the conditions listed here, or if you would like to find out more about superficial radiation therapy, please contact our team at Green Dermatology & Cosmetic Center today at 954-947-4500 and we’d be happy to schedule a consultation to further discuss options.