Basal Cell Cancer – Radiation Therapy

January 8th, 2011

Radiation Therapy is a treatment modality that works very well in the treatment of carefully selected Basal Cell Cancers and I recommend this method for some of my patients in both my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  Radiation Therapy is a good treatment alternative for patients with Basal Cell Cancers who do not desire surgery.  It can also be used for Basal Cell Cancers that have been excised but the surgical margins are still positive and the patient does not desire a re-excision.  Basal Cell Cancers which are nodular respond much better to Radiation Therapy than those that are deeply infiltrative.  Radiation Therapy is provided by a Radiation Oncologist, which is a medical doctor who has at least four years of rigorous residency training in Radiation Oncology.  The Radiation Oncologist will determine the total amount of radiation necessary to cure the Basal Cell Cancer depending on the size and location of the cancer.  In order to limit radiation side effects which include burning, redness, pain, skin breakdown to name a few, the Radiation Oncologist divides the total dose of radiation into fractions over several weeks to more then a month.  Typically, a patient receives radiation daily Monday through Friday in very small doses at each visit, which lasts approximately ten minutes.  The cure rate for treating Basal Cell Cancers with Radiation Therapy is approximately 90% but depends on the size, histopathology, and location of the cancer.  The cosmetic result is usually very good.  After a patient has completed Radiation Therapy, the treated area is examined by a board certified dermatologist every 3-6 months to evaluate for recurrence of the cancer as well as to detect new skin cancers that can be induced by the Radiation Therapy.

Radiation Therapy- Linear Accelerator