One of several treatments that may be used for skin cancer is radiation therapy, which uses high-energy beams to destroy cancerous cells. The most common type is external beam radiation, which delivers the rays with a machine outside the patient’s body. Brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy – a treatment option that’s less common for skin cancer – delivers the radiation with a radiation-filled seed or pellet that is placed close to or inside of the affected area in a patient’s body.
Radiation therapy may be included in a patient’s treatment plan for a variety of reasons. For skin cancer, radiation may be used:
- As a primary (main) treatment – The most common primary treatment for skin cancer is surgery, but sometimes surgery is not an option due to a patient’s health or a tumor being overly large or in a difficult location, such as the eyelid or ear.
- To treat skin cancer that has metastasized (spread) – When skin cancer metastasizes to other areas of the body like lymph nodes or other organs, radiation therapy may be the best option for treatment.
- As an adjuvant (additional) treatment after surgery – Radiation therapy may be used to treat the area after surgery is performed to eliminate remaining cancer cells that may not have been accessible during the surgery and reduce the chance of recurrence.
- To treat or delay the growth of a more advanced cancer – For advanced nonmelanoma skin cancers, radiation therapy has proven to be an effective treatment option.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology Program utilizes highly advanced, targeted radiation therapy techniques to shrink tumors, relieve pain and destroy cancer cells. While it’s true that you’ll find the most state-of-the-art radiation equipment at Moffitt, it is the team, not the machine, that’s the key ingredient in delivering this complex treatment. Moffitt’s radiation oncology team includes a number of professionals who not only specialize in radiation therapy and the use of these machines, but also are experienced specifically in treating skin cancer.
To learn more about whether radiation therapy is appropriate for treating your skin cancer, schedule an appointment by completing new patient registration form or calling 1-888-663-3488. No referral is needed to meet with our skilled oncologists specializing in skin cancer.