Skin Cancer Patients Can Now Benefit from High-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy
The common types of skin cancers that can disfigure patients are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. These conditions can be expensive to treat.
Researchers have discovered a new treatment model that offers excellent rates of cure.
According to a study:
High dose rate brachytherapy is effective in treating those patients with common skin cancers. It offers remarkable cosmetic outcomes, as well.
The novel treatment is ideal for elderly patients who experience difficulty healing well after surgery.
Surgery and external beam radiation therapy have, for a long time, been the only conventional treatment methods used to treat non-melanoma skin cancers. But the outcomes have not been good for elderly patients who may have other medical conditions. Some cases may require skin grafting and multiple surgeries.
As for external beam radiation therapy, it is a long and painful procedure that exposes the patient to radiation, causing side effects in the process. It has also failed to treat the non-melanoma skin cancers found on the neck and face.
Administering high dose rate brachytherapy involves delivering a precise dose of radiation to the cancer location using catheters. The catheters are implanted in an applicator. The procedure takes about three minutes, and the patient will undergo six sessions over two weeks.
High dose rate brachytherapy does not affect healthy body tissues since it delivers the radiation directly to the lesion. Patients recover quickly and also experience minimal or no side effects.
In a study using high dose brachytherapy on elderly patients, radiologists realized a 96% cure rate in squamous cell carcinoma patients and 98% in those with basal cell carcinoma. In 90% of all cases, the cosmetic outcomes were excellent.
Scientists are hopeful that the positive results from the study and additional research can increase awareness regarding the effectiveness of high dose rate brachytherapy in treating non-melanoma skin cancers. This will help patients avoid the side effects of surgery and other treatment options, such as external beam radiation therapy.