What is Radiotherapy and when is it used?
Radiotherapy or Superficial X-ray Therapy (SXRT) is a modality which is highly effective for the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). However, it is not a preferred curative therapy for Invasive Melanoma, though it may be used in selected cases of facial lentigo maligna (a slow growing and often quite extensive form of melanoma) and as a palliative treatment for secondary (metastatic) melanoma deposits.
SXRT is used in very extensive cancers, in cancers where surgery might be unduly complex, such as in older patients, in poor surgical risk patients and as a combination treatment with surgery.
As a rule, SXRT is more time consuming and is more expensive than surgery. However, overall it is a well-tolerated therapy and does not make patients feel unwell as does the deeper form of XRT used for internal cancers.
The early cosmetic results are excellent, though chronic radiation scarring does slowly develop over 5 to 10 years and may ultimately be unsightly. This is the reverse of surgery where scarring is always at its worst initially and tends to improve with time.
SXRT has a very important role in the treatment of skin cancer, either as a solo treatment or in combination with surgery.
SXRT is performed at Specialist Radiation Oncology Clinics. SPSSCC works closely with the best Radiotherapists and organises a referral when required.