JOPLIN, Mo. — Brachytherapy is an established choice for treating breast cancer.
But it’s also now an option for some cases of skin cancer.
Dr. Chance Matthiesen, Oncologist, said, “We’re not talking about melanoma here – we’re talking about just what people refer to as skin cancer. People forget this but this is the most common diagnosed malignancy of all US adults every single year. It doesn’t get a lot of attention because it’s not very deadly. But if these skin cancers go untreated, they can eventually progress and can be quite problematic.”
Now brachytherapy is offering a different route for treatment.
It uses a silver plazue to focus highly concentrated radiation.
“This is a device which allows us to use the brachytherapy source, which is a high dose iridium source. And we can now treat skin cancers utilizing these plaques on any area of the body, sometimes in as few as three to five sessions.”
Normally, brachytherapy for skin cancer would mean treatment five days a week for up to 10 weeks.
The treatment itself is very quick.
“Usually our treatment times are one to two minutes each, that’s it. Very short, the patient feels nothing – there’s no sensation of heat, burning, light.”
Brachytherapy doesn’t replace other options, including freezing the lesion or surgical removal.
But it can be a good choice for certain patients, like those who want to avoid surgery.
The Freeman Medical Focus was sponsored by Freeman Health System.