Skin cancer is becoming a major concern for health professionals and patients. Many patients in the Baby Boomer age group grew up when the use of sunscreen wasn't as prevalent as it is now. Even younger patients who are vigilant are seeing an increase because studies have shown that all it takes is one bad sunburn, even years back, to change the skin's DNA and trigger a cancerous lesion later in life. Many times when skin cancer is found, a patient must have it removed surgically, often leaving deep scars. A new treatment could change that.
Using localized doses of radiation at the cancer site can offer patients a non-surgical option to get rid of melanomas. It's called high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy and over two week period of several treatments many lesions can be removed with no stitches or scarring. The radiation is administered via small instrument about the size of a dinner spoon. The course of treatment is much shorter than previous regimens that could be as much as 6-8 weeks long. If the skin cancer is caught early enough, HDR brachytherapy can be a quick and effective way to get rid of a skin cancer lesion.