Modern radiation therapy
Advancing treatment options for patients with non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC)
Modern radiation therapy for skin cancer
Taking Australians under the skin of radiation therapy
Soon, we will be embarking on an exciting journey, taking Australians under the skin of radiation therapy. An important educational documentary designed to provide a comprehensive explanation of radiation therapy and its use in the
treatment of skin cancer. Over the coming weeks you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Brett who we followed for the duration of his treatment and you’ll have the opportunity to explore a documentary we’ve created that condenses 25 days of his treatment plus healing into an interactive film.
Management of skin cancers in the current environment
As a result of the extreme pressure being placed on the public health system, a growing number of operations for non- melanoma skin cancer being delayed or cancelled.
For suitable patients, radiation therapy may offer an alternative option to surgery, with modern techniques such as VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy) showing efficacious and well-tolerated results with local control rates in the order of 90-95%.¹
Suitable patients include those with aggressive primary or recurrent BCCs and SCCs, or superficial melanoma. In particular, where it relates to the elderly, those with comorbidities or where undue treatment delay (3-6 months or more) would be problematic.
Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world with almost half a million people treated for one or more non- melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) each year.² These skin cancers are commonly found on the most sun-exposed parts of the body, including the head, neck, and face.³
Management of complex and invasive skin cancer in the current environment webinar recording
In order to help you to navigate the current environment, a panel of experts held a live discussion on the primary care management and treatment considerations for complex and invasive skin cancer. Watch the recording below.
Skin cancer treatment guide
Radiation therapy for NMSC and wide-field skin cancerisation
Consider radiation therapy for NMSC
- Treatment is delivered with curative intent
- Treatment is affordable
- Treatment of large areas (fields) of skin is possible
- NMSC and wide-field skin cancerisation
- Ability to lie flat for approximately 15 minutes for multiple treatment sessions
Common areas that can be treated with radiation therapy
Rod’s story on managing complex skin cancer.
For the past 22 years, Rod has been seeing doctors and dermatologists every three months to manage cancers that have appeared on his arms and legs, after years of playing outdoor sports and wearing limited skin protection.
Rod is now looking and feeling better after receiving radiation therapy on the affected areas at GenesisCare. Hear how Rod is now enjoying his life post-treatment.
12 months after radiation therapy:
Diagnosis: Extensive solar damage, including intraepidermal carcinomas
Previous Tx: Surgeries, skin grafts, radiation therapy to forehead in 2010
RT completed: 50 Gy in 25 fractions using VMAT
Clearance at 12 months: 100%
Cosmetic outcome: Excellent
Other relevant information: One very small healing ulcer and tight scalp
Diagnosis: Basal cell carcinoma
Previous Tx: None
Other relevant information: Referred with consideration of cosmetic impact of RT vs surgery
RT completed: 55 Gy in 25 fractions using conformal RT
Clearance at 15 months: 100%
Cosmetic outcome: Good
Diagnosis: Multiple non-melanomatous skin cancers
Previous Tx: Local excisions, liquid nitrogen, diathermy, Efudex®, acitretin and cortisone
Other relevant information: >40-year history of skin cancers
RT completed: 45 Gy in 25 fractions using VMAT
Clearance at 12 months: One isolated actinic keratosis
Cosmetic outcome: Good
Radiation therapy Logistics
Patients will require a referral to see a radiation oncologist
- GenesisCare will treat all suitable patients, regardless of their financial circumstances
- Daily treatment 15-20 mins for 3-5 weeks
- Ambulatory outpatient treatment so apart from travel time and treatment time, rest of the day is as normal
Find out more
Contact the team to discuss the management of skin cancer patients with your local radiation oncologist.
- Garbutcheon-Singh, K., and Verness, M. Review Article, AJD, 2019.
- Cancer Council Australia, Be SunSmart. Available at: https://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/reduce-your-risk/be- sunsmart.html Accessed May 2019.
- Newlands C, et al. J Laryngol Otol. 2016; 2. Firnhaber JM. Am Fam Physician. 2012v.