MIAMI — Superficial radiation therapy, or SRT, offers a safe, effective and cosmetically beneficial alternative to Mohs surgery for nonmelanoma skin cancer, according to a speaker here.
“Modern SRT technology is so very different from what we all were exposed to 30 years ago,” David J. Goldberg, MD, JD, said at South Beach Symposium 2017. “These machines are small, they fit in the office and my cosmetic patients don’t even know the machine is there.”
David J. Goldberg
Modern superficial radiation therapy technologies utilize low energy photon X-rays operating at variable voltages of 50 kVp, 70 kVp and 100 kVp. According to Goldberg, the technology is particularly safe as the unit stops automatically when the cumulative amount of radiation is delivered. It effectively treats targeted lesions and delivers gentle indirect radiation that does not penetrate too deeply, but reaches the base of the tumor without impacting underlying healthy tissue.
The most common lesions treated with superficial radiation treatment are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. The technology can be used on any skin surface and provides a better cosmetic outcome compared with Mohs surgery.
Though superficial radiation treatment offers a simpler option than extensive surgery or reconstruction, it does have a higher risk of recurrence than surgery, especially in poorly defined lesions.
“The goal with using this is not to treat every lesion with SRT — we don’t,” Goldberg said. “I mean I still do a lot of Mohs, but it’s to eradicate tumors while maintaining or improving patients’ quality of life; and as we get more and more older people, this is a big deal.”
SRT is ideal for poor surgical candidates, whether they decline or are not likely to tolerate surgery. Contraindications for SRT include pacemaker or defibrillator within the treatment area, previous radiation to the area and connective tissue disorders. – by Talitha Bennett
Reference: Goldberg DJ. Use of SRT in Treatment of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers. Presented at: South Beach Symposium 2017; Feb. 9-12, 2017; Miami Beach, Florida.
Disclosure: Healio.com was unable to determine whether Dr. Goldberg has a direct financial interest in the products discussed in this article or if he is a paid consultant for any companies mentioned.