Radiation therapy can be an effective non-invasive way to treat skin cancers. Machines such as the Esteya Superficial Brachytherapy System available at Icon’s Greenslopes centre in Brisbane, mean doctors can treat early skin cancers non-invasively and effectively, with good cosmetic outcomes. For more advanced stages of skin cancer, volumetric arc radiation (VMAT) via a linear accelerator, the machine that delivers radiation therapy, gives doctors unprecedented control over the radiation dose they use, which allows them to better target complex lesions or tumours on the body without damaging the surrounding healthy areas. Linear accelerators can also be used to treat a range of skin cancers, from early to advanced stages. Radiation treatment for skin cancers also allows patients to continue their medication regimes, particularly for patients on blood thinning medications, such as warfarin.
“They work by using directed radiotherapy to the lesion, which ultimately causes death of the cancer and by targeting it to the lesion specifically, it reduces any dose to the surrounding normal tissue, which means a very low chance of any significant side effects. Radiation treatment is also particularly beneficial for patients on blood thinning medications as there is no changes to their medication regime, which is convenient to the patient and keeps their readings consistent,” Radiation Oncologist Associate Professor Matthew Foote explains.
These treatments are non-invasive, with treatment programs specifically planned for each patient. Depending on the size and complexity of the treatment required, visits to the cancer treatment centre usually take around 20 minutes, with the length of the program ranging from as little as four visits to as many as 30 for more complex cases.