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Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells. This procedure may require 15 to 30 visits to a facility with special equipment. Radiation therapy may be used in combination with other types of therapy to treat aggressive or recurrent skin cancer.
Recovery time may vary depending on the site treated and the amount of radiation used.
Radiation therapy may be used:
Surgery and radiation are the primary treatments for nonmelanoma skin cancer, but studies show that surgery has the best results.footnote 1 Still, radiation therapy has very good cure rates and cosmetic results, so sometimes it is the treatment of choice.
Risks of radiation therapy to treat skin cancer include the following:
Side effects are common but typically go away when treatment is finished. They include:
Radiation therapy is most often reserved for use in older adults. It may lead to other skin cancers in younger people as they age.
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
CitationsNational Comprehensive Cancer Network (2012). Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, Version 2. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/nmsc.pdf.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Current as ofMay 3, 2017
Current as of: May 3, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
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