What Are the Side Effects of Superficial Radiation Therapy?

May 31, 2022
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What Are the Side Effects of Superficial Radiation Therapy?

Skin cancers require immediate treatment to keep them from spreading and causing severe harm to the rest of your body, but many treatments can cause scarring. Superficial radiation therapy is different, as it is a less invasive form of external radiotherapy that can manage skin cancer growths without harming deep tissues. This procedure can reduce the risk of scarring, especially on sensitive areas, like your face. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jean-Denis Boucher and the experts at Lone Star State Dermatology Clinic in San Antonio, TX can help treat basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma through superficial radiation therapy.

The procedure does produce some side effects, including dryness, hair loss, redness in the area, and itchiness, but will not be as dramatic as what you’d experience from traditional skin cancer treatments. During your consultation with us at Lone Star State Dermatology, Dr. Boucher can determine if this treatment is suitable for your condition.

How does superficial radiation therapy work?

Superficial radiation therapy is a process where low-level x-rays administer radiation by using superficial radiation. The radiation works on the surface and also targets some of the skin underneath the area. The x-ray beam does not reach deep tissues, making it easier for the body to recover. Since some skin cancers do not reach these deeper tissues, a superficial approach will likely be suitable for many needs.

The process lasts a few minutes on average, and the number of treatments you’ll require will vary depending on your situation.

What does superficial radiation feel like?

The immediate side effects you’ll notice through this practice at Lone Star State Dermatology Clinic will be minimal in many situations, including redness and soreness. The treated area will feel warm as the x-ray energy will penetrate the skin to clear the cancerous growth.

What happens after treatment?

The treated area will feel dry afterward, although this side effect will be minimal in most situations. You may also notice itching and redness in the area. Hair loss can also occur in any spot that receives superficial radiation therapy, although this side effect is similar to what any other cancer treatment may produce.

You may be eligible for OPUS laser skin resurfacing at Lone Star State Dermatology, depending on the effects of your treatment. The resurfacing process can help restore the skin’s texture in cases where it might have changed. Your skin will look younger and smoother after resurfacing treatments.

What cancers can this treat?

While superficial radiation therapy can work in many situations, it is not appropriate for all cancers. The therapy process works best for basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. It will not work for melanoma, as more intensive treatments are necessary for this severe form of skin cancer.

Contact us today for superficial radiation therapy in San Antonio, TX

Skin cancer treatments, like superficial radiation therapy, are more effective when the skin cancer growth is in its earliest stages. Contact Dr. Jean-Denis Boucher and the team at Lone Star State Dermatology Clinic in San Antonio, TX for diagnosing and treating your specific condition. We have offices on Briggs Avenue in southern San Antonio and on Toepperwein Road in Live Oak near the Randolph Air Force Base. Visit us online to schedule a consultation at either of these locations.