The power of the world’s top cancer minds treating your cancer
If you or someone you love has skin cancer, you want confidence and precision. You want access to the latest advances in cancer care and research. You want a treatment plan designed to help you live longer and live better. And you want hope—combined with a commitment to excellence throughout this next phase of your cancer treatment. That’s why we’re here.
GenesisCare is a first-of-its-kind, global network of 5,000 cancer specialists. Our physicians collect and study the most promising advances in science and care from across the US and around the world.
With over 130 radiation oncology centers in the US, GenesisCare brings these proven best practices right to your community. Whether an effective approach for treating your cancer was investigated by our physicians in London, Madrid, or Myrtle Beach, you’ll find confidence having GenesisCare as part of your cancer care team.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. At GenesisCare we use the latest treatment techniques to treat skin cancer without the use of surgery or general anesthetic. Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, kills cancer cells. It’s used in the early stages of cancer treatment or after it has started to spread. It can also be used to relieve pain and discomfort from cancer that has spread.
- What is skin cancer?
- Skin cancer happens when skin cells change into abnormal cells and grow at an uncontrolled rate. There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, and the number of cases for both is increasing worldwide.
- What is melanoma?
- Melanoma is a type of skin cancer in cells that produce pigment – called melanocytes. Melanocytes make melanin, which gives skin its color. Melanin also protects us from ultraviolet (UV) radiation which causes sunburn.
- Melanoma is linked to sun exposure. But it can also affect areas of the body that aren’t often exposed to the sun. In very rare cases, it affects the skin lining the nose, mouth, and genitals.
- When melanoma cancer cells grow, a mark appears on the skin. It’s often brown or black in color.
- Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, bone, lung, liver, and brain. When cancer spreads it is known as ‘metastatic’ or secondary cancer.
- What is non-melanoma skin cancer?
- Non-melanoma skin cancer is more common and it’s much less likely to spread.
- It can occur anywhere on the skin, though it’s most found on parts of the body that have experienced long-term sun exposure – like the head, face, neck, arms, legs, and back of the hands.
- Non-melanoma skin cancers develop among cells in the upper layers of the skin. The two most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC).
- Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) usually stay in one place. However, they can sometimes spread to other nearby areas. Some high-risk squamous cell carcinomas have the potential to spread to lymph nodes or distant sites in the body.
- Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) usually stay in one place. However, they can sometimes spread to other nearby areas and rarely spread to lymph nodes or other sites in the body.
Radiation therapy for skin cancer
We use the latest treatment techniques to treat skin cancer without the use of surgery or general anesthetic.
Radiation therapy may be used as a treatment option in various circumstances for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers.
It can be used alone, aiming to destroy the tumor cells, or as part of your treatment plan after surgery, if the tumor is prone to regrowth.
Managing Grace’s non-melanoma skin cancer
Grace was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on her nose and went through several dermatologic surgery procedures. Eventually, it was determined that she would need a much more invasive surgery or radiation therapy to fight the cancer.
After much consideration, Grace determined radiation was best for her. Hear her story to hear how she responded to radiation at GenesisCare, and her recommendation for others fighting skin cancer.
External beam radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. Before your treatment begins, we’ll take some imaging scans to establish the precise shape, size, and location of the tumor. If your treatment is after your tumor removal surgery, then we’ll take scans to examine the area where the tumor was removed.
Known as a linear accelerator (or LINAC) machine, it’s very similar to a regular X-ray machine.
- The machine doesn’t touch you and treatment is painless.
- The radiation therapy is aimed at the tumor and a small section around it. Treatment does affect healthy tissue, although we aim to minimize this as much as possible.
- Your doctor will keep the dose as low as possible meaning a lower risk of damage to healthy tissue.
- Some people have side effects such as temporary skin irritation which can cause pain or discomfort afterward.
Everyone’s different and your treatments are designed specifically for you. Your doctor is the best person to advise you about the number of treatments. Some need daily sessions over several weeks, while others need fewer.
We know that it can be tough to fit regular appointments with your busy life. We will do our best to accommodate your schedule.
The process of radiation therapy starts with a consultation with a GenesisCare radiation oncologist.
Your radiation oncologist will review your medical history and conduct a physical examination to determine if radiation therapy is appropriate and can organize a treatment plan tailored to your situation and needs.
If treatment is recommended, an appointment will be made for simulation. This is where your radiation oncologist and a radiation therapist work together to organize your treatment plan and schedule. The simulation procedure takes about one hour to perform.
The simulation incorporates a radiation therapy education session with a nurse. Start date and time for treatment will be arranged once the plan is complete. The therapist will be in contact with the patient soon after the plan has been determined.
At your first treatment, a radiation therapist will explain the treatment process and answer any questions to ensure you are comfortable with the care provided.
The first treatment may take around 20–30 minutes. The remaining treatments may only take approximately 10–15 minutes. The number of treatment sessions needed can vary depending on your plan.
The experience of radiation therapy treatment can be like having an X-ray. Your radiation oncologist and nurse will be available on a weekly cadence for advice and support during your treatment.
A nurse will discuss your post-treatment care on your final day and will provide contact details should you have any questions after treatment is completed. Your radiation oncologist will arrange for a follow-up appointment six to twelve weeks after the completion of your treatment.
We welcome patients to contact us at any time if they are in need of any further information or assistance.
Meet Brett: The New Face of Radiation Therapy
Spending a lifetime enjoying the harsh Australian sun took a toll on Brett’s skin. Brett's scalp and face were treated with radiation therapy and after two years, several of the treatment sites have no evidence of recurrence. We work closely with our Australian GenesisCare skin specialists to bring this technique and results to a GenesisCare center near you.