How to Treat Skin Cancer With Superficial Radiotherapy (SRT)

Superficial radiotherapy (SRT) offers a non-surgical treatment for skin cancer. This therapy allows us to eliminate cancerous skin cells without damaging the surrounding tissues and without any incisions.

What Is Superficial Radiotherapy for Skin Cancer Treatment? 

Also known as low-energy radiotherapy, superficial radiotherapy is an FDA-approved treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers. 

At California Dermatology Care, we use the SRT-100™ Treatment System for this skin cancer therapy. This system can be used to treat non-melanoma skin cancer on any area of the body. 

Sensus Healthcare LLC is the manufacturer of the SRT-100. In 2014, they received the prestigious North American Award for New Product Innovation Leadership from Frost & Sullivan for the SRT-100.

SRT Vs. Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer Treatment

The primary treatment for skin cancer was previously Mohs surgery. However, surgical skin cancer treatment comes with inherent risks, a slow healing process and scarring that might require reconstruction to improve down the line. SRT offers numerous benefits over surgical skin cancer treatment, including a safe and pain-free treatment without anesthesia, no risk of nerve damage, faster healing and minimal to no scarring. 

How Does SRT Treat Cancer? 

The SRT-100 uses superficial X-rays to deliver concentrated low-energy radiation to the targeted malignant skin cells. The radiation alters the DNA in the cancerous cells and prevents them from being able to reproduce, which eventually eliminates the cancer. 

Skin Cancer Treatment Without Damaging Surrounding Tissues or Scarring 

SRT only penetrates 5 mm deep, which is approximately the thickness of the skin. This means it won’t harm the tissues beneath the skin, which minimizes the risk of scarring.  

No Risk of Scattered Radiation 

Because the radiation is concentrated with this treatment, there is no risk of scattered radiation emissions. As an extra precaution, patients are also shielded with protective lead equipment and treated in a lead-shielded radiotherapy suite. 

How Effective Is SRT for Skin Cancer Treatment? 

At California Dermatology Care, patients we treated with SRT for non-melanoma skin cancer had a recurrence rate of less than 0.5 percent.

What Are the Warning Signs of Skin Cancer? 

It’s imperative to keep an eye out for skin changes that can be signs of skin cancer. If you identify any, contact your dermatologist, who may order a biopsy to diagnose or rule out skin cancer. If your biopsy comes back to reveal a non-melanoma skin cancer, you might qualify for superficial radiotherapy.

What Types of Skin Cancer Can Be Treated With SRT?

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) commonly develops in areas with increased sun exposure, such as the chest and face. However, it can develop in other areas as well. Cancerous basal cells appear as a rough brown patch or white waxy lump on the skin. 

BCC is the most prevalent type of skin cancer but, fortunately, has a survival rate of 100 percent if it does not spread to other areas. However, if it does progress and spread (metastasize), it can be deadly. Because of this, it’s important to get any spots checked out as soon as possible if they are of concern.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is also common in areas often exposed to the sun, and it is the second most common type of skin cancer. SCCs can appear similar to warts or open sores, or they may develop as rough, scaly red patches of skin. 

The survival rate for this form of skin cancer is high, but it can be life-threatening if it spreads and becomes extensive or deep. 

Metatypical Carcinoma (MTC)

Also known as basosquamous carcinoma, metatypical carcinoma (MTC) is a rare skin cancer that has features of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. However, it is more aggressive than BCC and more likely to spread. It appears as a small translucent or waxy patch of skin. 

Cutaneous Appendage Carcinoma

Cutaneous appendage carcinoma (CAC) develops in the skin appendages, such as the sweat glands, sebaceous (oil) glands, mammary glands, nails or hair. CACs appear as bumps or nodules on the skin that are flesh-colored, pink or bluish. 

Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a form of cancer that affects the soft tissues of the skin, lymph nodes, mouth, stomach or other organs. When the skin is affected, cancerous cells grow beneath the skin and cause red, purple or brown patches on the skin. 

Patients with immune deficiencies are more likely to develop this type of cancer.

Advanced Hypertrophic Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is an irregular growth of skin cells that results in a bump or rough or scaly patch of skin. Commonly known as solar keratosis, this condition is caused by long-term exposure to the sun.

While actinic keratosis is not cancerous, some of the abnormal cells of advanced hypertrophic actinic keratosis can develop into skin cancer.

What Else Can Superficial Radiotherapy Treat?

SRT can also be used to treat keloids, also known as keloid scars. The thick, raised tissue of keloids develops from an overgrowth of scar tissue after an injury.

Learn More About How Skin Cancer Is Treated With Superficial Radiotherapy in the San Francisco Bay Area 

Dr. William Ting of California Dermatology Care is licensed by the State of California as a Physician Supervisor and Operator of Dermatology-related Superficial Radiotherapy. Hallie Gremlitz, our radiation therapist (R.T.), is board-certified through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and a member of the American Society for Radiologic Technologists.

Having performed thousands of superficial radiotherapy treatments, Dr. Ting and his team have extensive experience and demonstrated excellent results with these treatments. To schedule your consultation for skin cancer treatment at our office in San Ramon, Hercules or Livermore, call or text California Dermatology Care at 925-328-0255 today!