When radiation is used to treat skin cancer it is the use of x-rays to eliminate the skin cancer cells. It will usually take multiple visits for treatment before the skin cancer can be completely destroyed. It will take place over time. Skin cancer radiation treatment is generally used when skin cancer keeps coming back or is particularly resistant to treatment.
Skin cancer radiation treatment is not a first option for treatment. There are cases, however, where it is the only option that is available. Many times the condition of the patient or other mitigating circumstances will require the use of radiation treatment for skin cancer. The reasons that skin cancer radiation treatment might be used are many. It could be that the patient has other health considerations that prevent them from undergoing other forms of treatment.
The area where the skin cancer is either too large or in an area that is not conducive to treatment with surgery are other reasons that radiation treatment might be sought. It is always possible that a skin cancer has been treated but is reoccurring frequently.
This type of treatment has been shown to have some success for difficult skin cancers. In patients who were experiencing a fifty percent reoccurrence of their skin cancer the radiation treatment dropped that number to twenty five percent.
There are some risks to treating skin cancer with radiation, however. You may develop new skin cancers in the area that surround the affected area. If the skin cancer reoccurs after the treatment it may be that much harder to treat because of the radiation. And you might experience damage to your healthy skin in the same area.
Radiation treatment of skin cancer carries some significant side effects. These include loss of energy and appetite, hair that falls out, and persistent skin redness. These side effects usually last no longer than the radiation treatment.
Your doctor should have already discussed this kind of treatment for your skin cancer if you are seriously considering it. You will need to be very careful in reviewing your situation, to ensure that this treatment suits your needs. Radiation may not be the best option for treating you skin cancer, and your doctor should consider all other treatment options before proceeding with radiation treatment.