KODE — Summer is unofficially underway, and that means plenty of time in the sun for many. It also means it’s time to talk about skin protection and treatment for many.

“Skin cancer is a problem in our country. It is actually the number one cancer diagnosis in America is skin cancer,” said Dr. Chance Matthiesen, Radiation Oncologist.

When radiation is the right choice for treatment, brachytherapy is an option to address the diagnosis.

“Brachytherapy is actually using a live radioactive source to treat cancers very focally, very closely, and it’s minimizing the radiation exposure to the rest of the tissues,” he said.

And it’s not only how the radiation is applied, but how often a patient is treated.

“Even if they didn’t have an advanced stage, two months of daily treatments is covered. So we adopted a new technique now that we can do these treatments in usually five or 10 sessions, maybe just a couple of weeks, not even every single day. Each time they last about 15 minutes, and the overall results are equivalent. I think in time they’re going to be superior, but certainly, it’s just more convenient.”

Brachytherapy can also be customized, with a more traditional instrument for flat surfaces or a custom version to treat a nose, shoulder, or ankle. Dr. Chance Matthiesen adds that he’s offering brachytherapy both in Joplin and at the Freeman Clinic in Pittsburg.

“So our presence is really just an accessibility. It’s just making ourselves more available because patients who have to travel an hour or more to just have a conversation, sometimes that’s burdensome,” said Dr. Matthiesen.