What is Superficial Radiation Therapy?
Superficial Radiation therapy (SRT) is a specialized non-invasive method of treating non-melanoma skin cancers. The goal of SRT is to destroy the skin cancer by administering superficial radiation to a defined treatment field with as little as possible damage to surrounding normal tissue. This goal is accomplished because normal, healthy tissue cells are able to overcome the effects of radiation while abnormal, unhealthy cancer cells are not. It is a highly effective treatment, leaves a cosmetically attractive scar and does not require any physical restrictions. This treatment is especially good for patients who desire a non-surgical option or those who are not ideal surgical candidates.
Common side effects of SRT during treatment are redness, crusting, scaling, itching and mild burning. Permanent side effects include hair loss in the treatment area and a slightly lighter than skin colored scar.
The total dose of radiation is delivered over multiple treatments to help reduce the side effects of radiation. Appointments are usually two to three times a week with the average number of treatments being between 12 and 16. Treatment appointments are usually very short with the total time from start to finish being 15 minutes. The actual treatment time is much less than this as each dose of radiation is administered in less than 90 seconds.
What are my chances for cure?
Superficial Radiation Therapy has a cure rate of 95% to 98%.
Where is the procedure performed?
Superficial Radiation Therapy is conveniently performed in our office in a room designed specifically for SRT.
What does treatment entail?
Before treatments begin you will be seen for a 30 minute simulation appointment. The simulation is separate from your radiation appointments; there is no radiation delivered on simulation day. During the simulation visit, Dr. Romine will determine how many treatments you will need and how much radiation you will receive at each treatment. Dr. Romine will also outline the treatment field, which includes the skin cancer with treatment margins. From this outline, a customized lead plate will be designed to ensure that only the treatment field receives radiation and the surrounding skin is protected. Lead lined glasses, a thyroid shield, a lead apron and any other necessary lead shielding agents will be also be demonstrated on simulation day. Think of this as a "dress rehearsal."
Once you are properly shielded on simulation day, your position for treatment will be determined. Due to the fact that the unit emitting radiation is mobile, it can be placed in such a way that makes treatment comfortable for you as you have to remain still during the course of treatment. After your position for treatment has been established, photographs are taken to ensure that you are set up the same way for each treatment session.
On each treatment day you are shielded with lead and positioned in the same manner that was decided on simulation day. On each treatment day, Dr. Romine will look at the site to be treated, verify that the set-up is appropriate and answer any questions you may have. After this, treatment is administered by Dr. Romine once she and her assistant have left the treatment room. There is a camera in the room that allows for the assistant to monitor you during treatment, if movement is noted treatment will be stopped and you will be repositioned. There is no feeling or discomfort during the treatment time.
Patients have found SRT to be a wonderful alternative to surgery allowing continuation of a very active lifestyle with very little to no downtime. Please feel free to ask any questions and we are happy to provide you with representative before and after photos.
Can I bring a family member with me to my appointments?
You are more than welcome to bring a family member with you. However, there are no seating accommodations in the radiation treatment room as only you will be in this area during treatment so your family member may feel more comfortable in the reception area. It is a short appointment.
» Watch a Video about Superficial Radiation Therapy
» Click here for SRT video for treatment of Keloid Scars