Designing Better Care for Patients with Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
Shorter treatment times and less side effects¹.
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and approximately two in three Australian’s will be diagnosed with skin cancer before age 70.² People who have spent time working outdoors can receive up to 10 times more sun exposure than indoor workers.³
Surgery is standard treatment, but it can sometimes be cosmetically challenging, particularly if the lesion is on the face, or areas of the body where skin can be thin such as the lower leg. Multiple non-melanoma skin cancers that spread across a wider area of skin can also be difficult to remove surgically, and topical treatments or ‘freezing’ of the cancers are not always a suitable alternative.
Advances in Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy has been used to treat non-melanoma skin cancers for many years, and recent advances in technology have revolutionised its use. The latest techniques now enable treatment to be delivered with more precision and accuracy than ever before.¹
The team at GenesisCare have seen a significant change in the way skin treatments can now be delivered and the positive impact this can have on patients and their families.
‘Previously, it could be tricky to shape radiation beams around curved surfaces and deliver an even dose just to the skin. Using the latest treatment technology, we can now precisely shape the radiation to the treatment area whilst sparing normal surrounding tissue. This means that we can effectively and more accurately treat skin cancers on and around the face, or multiple lesions spreading across the forearm, leg or scalp,’ explained radiation oncologist, Dr Bradley Wong.
A Patient Story
Gai has been visiting her skin specialist for many years and has had various lesions treated locally. When one lesion started deteriorating at a faster rate, Gai rushed back from a holiday to see her specialist. After conversations about potential surgery, her consultant referred her to GenesisCare to discuss radiation therapy, feeling surgery may not be the best option due to the wide-field cancerisation and delicate skin area on Gai’s leg.
Gai’s long history of basal and squamous cell carcinomas (keratinocyte cancers) and the placement on her leg of her current lesion, made her a good candidate for radiation treatment.
Gai received daily treatments over a 7-week period, which included a 2-week break in the middle to assist with some swelling and discomfort – common side effects of radiation treatment, especially in the legs. However, with the advances in radiation therapy in the last 5 years, side-effects are much less severe as the therapy is now only treating the skin, not the underlying layers.¹
Six-months post-treatment, Gai was back doing all the things she loves – including her tennis and running around with her new great-grandchild.
‘The treatment has meant my quality-of-life is amazing – I can do what I want to do when I want to do it, I’m happy.’ – GAI
GenesisCare has nine treatment centres in Victoria, seven across Melbourne for easy access and two in regional Victoria at the following locations: St Vincent’s Fitzroy, Cabrini Hospital, Western Private Hospital, Ringwood Private Hospital, St John of God Berwick Specialist Centre, Epping Private Hospital and Medical Centre and Frankston Private Hospital, Shepparton an the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.
- Li D, et al. Cancer Biol Med 2014; 11(4):217-236.
- Cancer Council ACT. Skin cancer in Australia. Available at: https://actcancer.org/prevention/sunsmart/skin-cancer-in-australia/. Accessed on 2/6/21
- Cancer Council. SunSmart at work. Available at: cancer.org.au/cancer-information/causes-and-prevention/sun-safety/be-sunsmart/sunsmart-at-work. Accessed on: 2/6/2