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David’s story – skin cancer discovery and radiotherapy


In May 2020, David became aware of a small patch of yellow skin on the tip of his nose. He ignored it for a couple of months but then it started to slightly bleed on occasion. Following a round of golf with a friend of his who is a retired GP, his friend urged him to get it checked out by a medical professional.

David contacted his private medical insurer and was referred to a dermatologist. A biopsy was taken and unfortunately it was confirmed as a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). BCC is a non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) meaning it develops in the upper layers of the skin.

David was given a choice – either he could have surgery to have the BCC removed, or he could opt for radiotherapy. David chose the second option as it was a much less invasive treatment compared to surgery. After some research he was relieved to find that the latest radiotherapy treatment was offered close to his home at GenesisCare Nottingham.

Within a couple of days David attended the appointment with leading skin cancer expert Dr Eric Bessell who assured him that his treatment could start very soon. First, a bespoke mask would be created to protect the healthy skin surrounding the treatment area.

He was excited to learn that a new advanced technology would be used to create a mask to protect his healthy skin and that he would be the first UK patient to experience it. His face was scanned, and a 3-D mould was digitally printed from which the mask was made which fit perfectly over his face with only the treatment area being visible. The precision technology ensures the finished product gives a best possible fit and is available in all GenesisCare centres.

David also had a custom wax block produced. This was positioned over the top of the treatment area to reduce the amount of radiotherapy to underlying tissue. David also had nasal wax plugs inserted in both nostrils to reduce the dose to the inner lining. The advanced technology used in its development not only ensures a very accurate fit, but minimises any air gaps, and allows a uniform dose distributed to the whole treatment area.

The mask was manufactured within a few weeks and David started his Radiotherapy soon after, using an electron technique on a Linear Accelerator (Linac) machine.

He said “I had 15 fractions of radiotherapy sessions, over a period of a few weeks. I visited the centre every day but had a break at weekends. Each fraction lasted less than a minute and I didn’t feel a thing during or after treatment, it was completely pain free. I was extremely grateful to receive such excellent care – the appointments were organised quickly there was no wait time once the mask was created. The GenesisCare staff were fantastic, and the treatment and facilities were absolutely 5 stars. I am relieved to say that the cancer has been successfully treated and I am back playing golf and enjoying outdoor activities. Of course, I am very careful now and always make sure to wear a sun factor 50 or total block sunscreen. If I ever experience any problems in the future, I will not hesitate to access GenesisCare, they have provided an excellent service.”

If you are concerned about a change to a mole or a patch of skin, please arrange a medical appointment as soon as possible – early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.