If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with skin cancer, the Radiation Oncology Cancer Center is ready to help. Our experts use the most-advanced techniques to provide treatment for a variety of skin cancers, including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma.
Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and strikes more people worldwide than any other form of cancer. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
In the US alone, more than one million Americans will be diagnosed with the disease this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are three main types of skin cancer, including:
Basal cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 75 percent of all skin cancers. This highly treatable cancer starts in the basal cell layer of the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and grows very slowly. Basal cell carcinoma usually appears as a small, shiny bump or nodule on the skin - mainly those areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, arms, hands, and face
Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 20 percent of all skin cancer cases. Although more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, this cancer is highly treatable. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as nodules or red, scaly patches of skin, and may be found on the face, ears, lips, and mouth. However, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body. This type of skin cancer is usually found in fair-skinned people.
Malignant melanoma is less common. Malignant melanoma starts in the melanocytes - cells that produce pigment in the skin. Malignant melanomas usually begin as a mole that then turns cancerous. This cancer may spread quickly. Malignant melanoma most often appears on fair-skinned men and women, but persons with all skin types may be affected.
The best way to tell if you have skin cancer is to see a dermatologist. When radiation therapy is used to treat cancers on the skin, it is often done with a type of radiation called electron beam radiation. It uses a beam of electrons that only penetrate as far as the skin. This helps limit the side effects to other organs and body tissues. Radiation therapy can often cure small non-melanoma skin cancers and can delay the growth of more advanced cancers. Radiation is also useful when combined with other treatments. It is particularly useful for Merkel cell carcinoma.
In some cases, radiation can be used after surgery as an adjuvant (additional) treatment to kill any small areas of remaining cancer cells that may not have been visible during surgery. This lowers the risk of cancer coming back after surgery. Radiation may also be used to help treat non-melanoma skin cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or other organs.
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The side effects you may experience will depend on the area being treated, the type of radiation used and whether or not you also received chemotherapy. Before treatment, your doctor will describe what you can expect.
Some patients experience minor or no side effects and can continue their normal routines.
If at any time you develop side effects, tell your doctor or nurse. He or she can give you medicine to help.
IRB # 1505016229 A First-in-Human Study of Repeat Dosing with REGN2810, a Monoclonal, Fully Human Antibody to Programmed Death - 1 (PD-1), as Single Therapy and in Combination with Other Anti-Cancer Therapies in Patients with Advanced Malignancies NCT02383212
This study is currently recruiting participants.