Nonsurgical Treatment of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers (NMSC) Highly Effective but Infrequently Used
Summarized By: Dr. Charles Meakin
Nonsurgical treatment of NMSC with superficial radiation has been used for years back in the 70s and 80s in cancer clinics but has more recently been replaced by surgical techniques. Currently less than 1% of cases of NMSCs are treated with radiation, despite dramatic improvements in technology and shorter treatment schedules that favor patient convenience. A recent body of experience verifies the effectiveness of this technique with control rates that are very high over 95% and similar to surgery without some of the concerns and side effects of invasive therapies. Superficial radiation strategies are especially convenient for patients on blood thinners, complicated lesions around the face, or multiple lesions where extensive surgery would be debilitating. Many times a multi discipline approach using the skills of the dermatologist, Mohs surgeon, and radiation oncologist can bring about the best customized option for individual patient presentations. Any patient with a new non-melanoma skin cancer presentation should request opportunities to explore nonsurgical options to better understand the exciting new developments and treatment schedules tailored to patient convenience.
See the following links for more information as well as biographies of articles supporting the above results in greater than 1000 patients over the last decade.
- Caccialanza M, et al. Radiotherapy of skin carcinomas of the pinna: a study of 115 lesions in 108 patients. IJ Dermatol 2005.44:513-517.
- Olschewski T, Bajor K, Lang B, Lang E, Seegenschmiedt MH. Radiotherapy of basal cell carcinoma of the face and head: Importance of low dose per fraction on long-term outcome. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges.2006 Feb;4(2):124-30.
- Guix B, Finestres F, Tello J, Palma C, Martinez A, Guix J, et l. Treatment of skin carcinomas of the face by high-dose-rate brachytherapy and custom-made surface molds. IJROBP 2000; 47:95-102.
- Bhatnagar A. Nonmelanoma skin cancer treated with electronic brachytherapy: Results at 1 year. Brachyterapy 2013 Mar-Apr; 12(2): 134-40.
- Bhatnagar, A. Poster: Electronic Brachytherapy for the Treatment of Non-mMelanoma Skin Cancer. Annual Meeting of the American Brachytherapy Society, April, 2015.
- Dogget, S. et al. Poster: Electronic Brachyptherapy for Non-Melanatonous Skin Cancer: Report of First 565 Lesions. Annual Meeting of the American Brachytherapy Society, April, 2015.
- Strimling, R. et al. Poster: Initial Experience of Electronic Brachytherapy for the Treatment of 494 Non-melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) Lesions of 297 Patients.
- Patel, R. et al. Poster: Initial experience with Electronic Brachytherapy for Skin Cancer: Clinical and Dosimetric Characteristics.
- Rogers HW, Weinstock MA, Harris AR, et al. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006. Arch Dermatol 2010;146:283-287.