Radiation therapy may be the best option for:
- Patients with skin cancer in delicate sites on the face, such as those around the nose, eyes, ears, or lips, where surgical defects may harm the area or cause undesirable cosmetic damage.
- Patients who have skin cancer that has been treated but has come back in the same location.
- Patients with high risk squamous cell and basal cell lesions that have close positive margins, nerve invasion, high growth rate, or the possibility of nodal involvement.
- Patients who have large skin cancer tumors that cover a large area.
- Older adults (over the age of 60).
- Patients who have poor overall health or underlying medical conditions that could lead to complication from surgery.
- Patients on blood thinners or other medications that interfere with surgery.
Radiation therapy may also be used in conjunction with surgery in many cases to optimize effectiveness of treatment. Radiation may allow the surgeon to forego extensive surgical grafts, flaps or reconstruction if the combined modality approach is known ahead of time.