Designing better care for patients with skin cancer
Shorter treatment times and less side effects1
Gai has been visiting her skin specialist for many years and has had various lesions treated locally. When one lesion started deteriorating at a faster rate, Gai rushed back from a holiday to see her specialist. After conversations about potential surgery, her consultant referred her to Dr Chelsie O’Connor at GenesisCare – Macquarie University Hospital, to discuss radiation therapy.
Gai’s long history of basal and squamous cell carcinomas (keratinocyte cancers) and the placement on her leg of her current lesion, made her a good candidate for radiation treatment. These types of cancers are relatively common, with men having a 70% chance of developing a keratinocyte cancer after the age of 70 years, and women having a 58% chance.2
Gai received daily treatments over a 7-week period, with a 2-week break in the middle to assist with some swelling and discomfort – common side effects of radiation treatment, especially in the legs. However, with the advances in radiation therapy in the last 5 years, side-effects are much less severe as the therapy is now only treating the skin, not the underlying layers.
Six-months post-treatment, Gai was back doing all the things she loves – including her tennis and running with her new great-grandchild.
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- Li D, et al. Cancer Biol Med 2014; 11(4):217-236.
- Cancer Council ACT. Skin cancer in Australia. Available at: https://actcancer.org/prevention/sunsmart/skin-cancer-in-australia/. Accessed on 30/03/2021.
The treatment has meant my quality-of-life is amazing - I can do what I want to do when I want to do it, I’m happy.