Radiation Therapy for Skin Cancer

Radiation therapy machine

Radiation therapy is a type of treatment performed in our office for certain types of skin cancer.

Radiation therapy is a tool in the dermatologist’s arsenal against skin cancer. Radiation has been found to be toxic to cancer cells. The same kind of radiation that is used in common x-rays can be utilized to attack and kill cancer cells.

If you have skin cancer, radiation could be an effective treatment alternative. With our location in Phoenix, help for your skin cancer is just a short drive away.

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Modern dermatology clinic in Phoenix

What is Radiation Therapy Used For?

Most often, radiation therapy is used by dermatologists to treat basal and squamous cell skin cancer.

Radiation therapy has been shown to be highly effective at ridding the body of cancer cells. But, as with other forms of skin cancer treatment, there are no guarantees.

Your dermatologist may suggest radiation therapy in instances where:

  • You have basal or squamous cell skin cancer
  • You are unable to undergo other forms of surgery
  • Your skin cancer has not responded to other treatments

Types of Radiation Therapy

Two types of radiation therapy are commonly used by dermatologists. The type of radiation treatment that your dermatologist might use will depend upon what kind of cancer you have, where it is, and your history of skin cancer treatment. The two types are:

  • Electron beam radiation therapy
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy

With electron beam radiation therapy, tiny particle beams are directed at the area where the skin cancer is. These electrons only reach the surface of the skin to attack and kill the cancerous cells.

Another type of radiation therapy is intensity-modulated radiation therapy, which is highly targeted. This is specifically used to treat cancerous lymph nodes since this is an area of the body from which cancer can readily spread.

Am I a Candidate for Radiation Therapy?

Anyone who has skin cancer might be a candidate to receive radiation therapy. However, some other forms of treatment may be better for your type of skin cancer. Radiation therapy is mostly reserved for those who would not do well with traditional surgeries, or who have skin cancer that has not responded to other treatments.

There may be side effects with radiation therapy, as it's an aggressive form of skin cancer treatment, including the destruction of nearby healthy cells. You may also experience nausea, fatigue, and irritated skin at the site of treatment. Your dermatologist will be able to tell you in detail what kind of side effects you can expect.

Whether for basal or squamous cell carcinoma, Camelback Dermatology & Skin Surgery in Phoenix can provide, if necessary, the radiation therapy you need. Schedule an appointment to explore personalized insights and care from our experienced dermatology team.