Situations Where Radiation Therapy Is Advised For Skin Cancer Treatment

If your dermatologist has informed you that a lesion on the skin is cancerous, then you may be very concerned about the types of treatments that are needed to remove the cancerous growth from the body. In many cases, skin cancer can and should be removed with the assistance of a surgical procedure. You may need radiation treatment as well in addition to or instead of the surgical removal. Keep reading to learn about some situations where radiation is required.

When Surgery Is Not Advisable

There are certain situations where surgery cannot be performed to remove the skin cancer. For example, if you are extremely overweight, then you are far more likely to experience complications such as infections, clots in the blood, pneumonia, bleeding issues, and weakening of the heart. Other diseases that indicate poor health like diabetes can lead to complications as well and the possibility of infections. 

Individuals who take blood thinners and cannot stop taking them due to stroke risks may not be able to go through surgery and individuals who are elderly may be advised against operations too. Specifically, elderly people have a higher risk of developing complications with anesthesia than younger and healthier individuals. Certain respiratory illnesses can also make it difficult to administer anesthesia properly. 

Most of these risks involve general anesthetics and major surgical operations to remove larger tumors. This may mean that skin cancer removal that uses a local anesthetic may still be possible if only a smaller lesion needs to be removed. 

Cancer Cells Are difficult To Remove

Skin cancer does not always remain along the upper epidermis. It can spread deep and also work its way out laterally across the skin. In this situation, it can be extremely difficult to remove the legion die to its size and depth. Also, if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or to another area of the body, then surgical removal may simply not be possible. 

If surgery cannot remove the cancer, then radiation treatment is often used to destroy the cancerous cells with the assistance of x-rays. You should know that it is difficult to pinpoint a specific location when radiation is used, so there is likely to be some damage to healthy cells outside the treatment area. Also, while surgical treatment involves a single procedure, radiation is completed during many appointments, so you should be prepared for this.

Radiation can cause some general cosmetic issues and skin problems, so you should be prepared for this. Speak with a dermatologist, like Gateway Dermatology PC, to understand what should be expected after the radiation therapy is completed.