Tags: Cancer | skin | cancer | radiation

Skin Cancer Treatment Uses Radiation Instead of Scalpel

By    |   Tuesday, 07 April 2015 03:25 PM

To remove skin cancer tumors, doctors typically freeze, scrape, or cut them away through surgery. But a new type of treatment uses small doses of radiation to get remove them.

The approach, which requires multiple treatments with a small radiation device held millimeters from the skin, is painless, effective, and becoming increasingly popular, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The new procedure, called surface electronic brachytherapy (eBx), is beginning to cause a stir in the world of non-melanoma skin cancers, the most common type of cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology says that surgery is the most effective treatment, and that more long-term data is needed before the safety and effectiveness of eBx can be determined.

But a report in the journal JAMA Dermatology said use of the procedure has risen 20-fold in recent years, to 24,000 procedures in 2013, the authors said that makers of the eBx equipment are marketing it to “busy people” who “aren’t interested in surgery.”

Medicare reimbursements can run as high as $24,000 per patient, compared with $200 to $2100 for typical skin-cancer treatments, the authors said.

The two companies that make eBx equipment — Xoft Inc. and Elekta Inc.— say they agree that surgery is still the standard of care, but that eBx offers a viable alternative for patients who don’t want to have surgery.

More than 3.6 million Americans are diagnosed with basal or squamous cell cancers every year — more than all other cancers combined. Unlike melanomas, they are rarely fatal.

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A new type of treatment uses small doses of radiation to remove skin cancer, instead of cutting tumors away through surgery.
skin, cancer, radiation
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 03:25 PM
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