My successful brachytherapy treatment for skin cancer

Real Stories

Carlos discusses how brachytherapy was used to treat his skin cancer.

"I am delighted and can enjoy complete peace of mind. I would recommend brachytherapy to any other patient in a similar situation."

Carlos is happily married and has two grown daughters, 29 and 27 years old. His eldest is a journalist workings in the digital field. The youngest is a primary and secondary education teacher and works in Madrid. Both are very happy and healthy.

Thumbnail: Carlos, a skin cancer survivor after brachytherapy treatment

The Diagnosis of Skin Cancer

Carlos received his skin cancer diagnosis from Dr. Guinot, his oncologist. This was after a suspicious mole was removed from his forehead, which was tested pathologically for malignant cells. When the results confirmed the presence of cancerous cells, Dr. Guinot informed Carlos that radiation therapy was necessary to ensure the edges of the wound were treated.

Skin cancer - the abnormal growth of skin cells- is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. About 1 in 5 people develop skin cancer at some point in their life. (1)

The different types of skin cancer

There are three main types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in the basal cells, which line the deeper layers of the epidermis. It is the most common type of skin cancer.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the squamous cells, which are the thin, flat cells that line the inside and outside of the body's organs.
  • Melanoma develops in the cells called melanocytes, which produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color and protects against some of the sun’s damaging UV rays. This is the most aggressive skin cancer because it can spread to other areas of the body.

Basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and melanoma can occur in people of all types of skin, but darker skin is more prone to developing basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

It is important to recognize the signs, including skin lesions or precancerous skin growths. Early detection is key to successful treatment.

Brachytherapy is a Quick and Effective Way to Treat Skin Cancers

The most frequent treatment for skin cancer is excision or Mohs surgery. Still, depending on the type and extent of the condition, other treatments may be an option.

Carlos remembers Dr. Guinot talking about brachytherapy as an effective, straightforward, and comfortable radiation therapy that targets a precise area while sparing the surrounding healthy skin.

What is Brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy is an internal radiation treatment designed to deliver targeted doses of radiation as close to cancer as possible. Tiny devices, either implants or applicators are used to administer the radioactive materials. This very precise technique is designed to kill cancer cells and abnormal cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues.

With brachytherapy your doctor can administer a higher dose of radiation in a shorter period than with external beam therapy. The radiation dose targets the cancer cells or remaining cancer cells and does less damage to the nearby tissue.

How to Learn More About Brachytherapy for Skin Cancer Treatment?

At Elekta, we believe an informed patient makes the best decisions and has the right to access comprehensive, clear information about their treatment options. We've created a brachytherapy resources website to help patients and their families prepare for discussions with their oncology team. This website includes a patient guide, FAQs, and other patient stories.

The benefits of brachytherapy

Carlos was pleasantly surprised to discover that brachytherapy was far simpler than he had thought. He tells us: "Well, the truth is that it was very simple".

The only downside Carlos remembers is the hair loss he experienced, which took longer than anticipated to regrow. However, he is now thrilled to have his thick, blond hair back, just like when he was a youngster.

Carlos is glad he decided to get brachytherapy for treatment. He is also very grateful to the doctors who treated him.

"I know Brachytherapy helped me."

Thrilled with the brachytherapy results, Carlos feels that the therapy has not only enhanced his quality of life but also relieved any worries about any potential risks related to the treated area. As such, he can now enjoy life with a newfound sense of assurance.

"I recommend brachytherapy."

Like many patients who benefited from brachytherapy, Carlos would recommend it to any other patient in a similar situation. He would also urge anyone concerned about skin conditions to seek professional medical advice to diagnose skin cancer properly.

My main wish now?

Carlos hopes to never have a recurrence of his episodes. However, He is aware that life is unpredictable and filled with unexpected joys and sorrows.

Above all, he wants to express his trust in the medical professionals and the medical field as a whole. In the last half-century, remarkable advances have been made; yet, the average person may not fully appreciate the extent of such progress.

Carlos ends on a note of optimism. He reminds us that no matter how difficult the circumstances, hope should never be abandoned. He has seen firsthand that a resolution can be reached despite facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge.