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Radiation therapy for skin cancer

General

Radiation treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer usually includes treatment of visible and palpable changes with margins and can be used for primary treatment or as preoperative or postoperative treatment. In some cases, it is also combined with chemotherapy. For difficult localizations and spreading, additional mapping with CT dosage-planning and more complicated treatment arrangements are required.

Radiation of basal cell carcinoma provides a cure rate of over 90%. Squamous cell carcinoma and other histological groups respond well to radiation treatment with a high success rate.

For brachytherapy, the radiation source is placed in or close to the tumor. In this way, the cancer cells obtain a high dose of radiation while the dose to the surrounding normal tissue can be limited. Brachytherapy can also be used in and around the nose (columella), in eyelids, and lips.

Whole-body radiation is used for mycosis fungoides.

Lymph node radiation is appropriate for squamous cell carcinoma which has metastasized or has a high risk for metastasis. For extremity-localized Kaposi's sarcoma, the treatment takes place in a water bath. For Merkel cell carcinoma, radiation treatment is often part of a combination of treatments.

Indications

  • Squamous and basal cell carcinoma. Appropriate for localizations in and around the ears, in the central facial triangle, and for larger, difficult operation localizations.
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Mycosis fungoides 
  • Merkel cell carcinoma 

Goal

  • Curative treatment
  • Palliation against pain, bleeding, and other symptom relief. 

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