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Frequently asked questions

How effective is brachytherapy in treating skin cancer?

Brachytherapy is a very effective treatment option for skin cancer. Complete response is seen in >95% of patients. This is comparable with surgical excision 1,2,3.

Will the brachytherapy procedure hurt?

Radiation therapy itself is painless. Only in very sporadic cases, where doctors decide that invasive procedures are required for optimal outcome a local anesthetic can be required.

If I have brachytherapy, do I have to stay in hospital overnight?

Treatment is usually given on an outpatient basis. Standard brachytherapy procedures for treating skin lesions do not required hospitalization. 

How will I know if brachytherapy has worked?

After your procedure, you will be scheduled regular appointments to check that the tumor is responding to the treatment. Based on clinical experience a complete response is expected in more than 95% of all patients 1, 2, 3

What are the side effects of brachytherapy?

All treatments for skin cancer carry a risk of side effects. Immediately after the brachythrapy treatment, a redness or rash may appear on the skin. This usually resolves within a couple of weeks after finalizing the treatments 1, 2, 3. For more information read the side effects section.

Will I be left with any scars?

In the majority of cases, the area of skin being treated with brachytherapy will return to normal appearance after a couple of weeks. In some cases a slight mark or discolouration of the skin may occur 1, 2, 3.

How soon can I get back to work after receiving brachytherapy?

The recovery times after brachytherapy for skin cancer is usually very short. You can probably return to your normal daily routine immediately after treatment

Other questions?

If you have a general question about brachytherapy that is not answered here, email us at info@aboutbrachytherapy.com and we will do our best to provide an answer on the website.

Please note that, while we will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to post answers to all questions submitted. Please also note that we can only answer general questions – please contact your healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions about your personal health.

 

References

1.Bhatnagar, A., & Loper, A. (2010). The initial experience of electronic brachytherapy for the treatment of non melanoma skin cancer. Radiat oncol, 28(5), 87
2.Gauden, R., Pracy, M., Every, A. M., & Gauden, S. (2013). HDR brachytherapy for superficial non-melanoma skin cancers. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol, 57(2), 212-217
3.Tormo, A., Perez Calatayud, J., Roldan, S., Lliso, F., Miranda, S., Carmona, V., et al. (2011). Preliminary Clinical results Using Valencia Applicator and a New Fracitonation in Non Melanoma Skin Cancer Treatments. Brachytherapy, 10, S14-S101