Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Basal cell and squamous cell skin carcinomas are overwhelmingly the most common forms of skin cancer. If detected at an early stage, various treatment options are available with high likelihood of cure. While the great majority of skin cancers can be treated with surgical excision (Mohs procedures), a minority are of a more-advanced nature or may pose challenges for achieving an optimal medical or cosmetic outcome from surgery.
Tightly localized radiation treatment is an invaluable option for those skin cancers in surgically awkward locations, such as eyelids, nose, ears or lips, or which may be adjacent to tendons or other sensitive structures, and in sites of thin skin, such as the scalp or pretibial region. Irradiation treatment may also be recommended for those patients at greater risk for surgical excision, such as those with diabetes or requiring anti-coagulation therapy for cardiovascular conditions.
A small fraction of skin cancers are melanomas and are far more dangerous. Treatment for melanoma typically requires surgical excision. Post-operative irradiation delivery is recommended for more invasive tumors, using Tomotherapy delivery aimed at a larger tissue volume that often includes regional lymph nodes.
At Southwest Oncology Medical Centers, the physicians at our dedicated Skin Center facility have worked closely with dermatologists at many centers. We have long-term experience with electronic brachytherapy and with electron-beam techniques for skin-cancer treatment – and have achieved great success with these challenging cases.