Treating Skin Cancer with High Dose Rate Brachytherapy

Non-melanoma skin cancer comprises the common basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, as well as the rare T-cell lymphoma, basosquamous carcinoma, Merkel cell tumors, and Kaposi sarcoma.  The key risk factors for these skin cancers are sun exposure, immunosuppression, toxic, and ionizing radiation exposures.

Skin cancers may not cause mortality, but they impact the physical appearance, functional status, and quality of life of the patient.

High dose rate brachytherapy is a technique that targets a uniform dose of high dose radiation to lesions using a shielded surface applicator. It is a non-invasive procedure that involves a short treatment schedule without severe side effects.

It is a process that takes about three minutes, with the patient undergoing six treatment sessions within two weeks. Since it delivers radiation directly to the tumor location, high dose brachytherapy will not affect the healthy tissues in the body. Also, the patient will recover quickly and continue with their daily activities.

This technique is feasible in treating superficial tumors in both older adults and younger patients with skin cancer who have complications with surgery. Skin cancers have often been treated using surgery and external beam radiation.

High dose rate radiation therapy works by applying a precise dose of radiation directly to the cancer location. The radiation is more targeted, with very impressive outcomes. Elderly patients who may have other medical problems are going to benefit from this model treatment.

After using the technique in a study, it showed a cure rate of 98% in patients with basal cell carcinoma and 96% in those with cell carcinoma. Researchers are planning to conduct another study to observe what would happen when the model is used over a more extended period.

More research on high dose rate brachytherapy is needed to find out its effectiveness over other treatment modalities such as surgery and chemotherapy. They will determine whether it can be used as a primary treatment or not.

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