(WSVN) - Getting diagnosed with skin cancer can involve a biopsy, but a new procedure is changing the way skin cancer is treated, and it means no more scars. 7’s Lynn Martinez has tonight’s special report.
Larry Wallenstein has lived in South Florida most of his life.
He enjoys outdoor activities and has never thought twice about how all that fun in the sun could damage his skin.
Larry Wallenstein, getting new skin cancer treatment: “I had a little teeny bleeding spot on my nose. I didn’t think anything of it until it came back about a month later.”
But Larry got a big wake up call when his doctor tested that spot and diagnosed him with basal cell carcinoma.
Although rarely deadly, basal cell is the most common type of skin cancer.
Unfortunately, the way to treat basal cell carcinoma is a procedure called Mohs surgery where layer after layer of skin around the spot is removed until all the cancer cells are gone.
Some patients even need plastic surgery to repair the area where the cancer is cut out.
As Larry prepared for the worst, he was surprised when his doctor said he had a new treatment.
Larry Wallenstein: “I was fearful of course, but sort of excited that their might be really something that’s no pain no scars.”
It’s called superficial radiotherapy treatment or SRT.
Dr. Jason Green, Green Dermatology: “It’s an amazing option because there’s no cutting, which means there’s no scar, there’s no pain, and there’s no downtime.”
SRT works by using carefully measured doses of X-ray radiation targeted at the cancer spot. The rays only go skin deep so it doesn’t affect the surrounding area.
Dr. Green does the procedure right in his office and says the set up actually takes longer than the treatment itself.
Dr. Jason Green: “Larry is going to be under here for 30 seconds.”
The number of treatments for each patient varies.
Dr. Jason Green: “Every skin cancer requires probably anywhere from 12 to 15 treatments, depending on the location.”
Larry is on his fourth of 12 sessions and is pleased with the results so far.
He encourages others to not be afraid and to ask questions when faced with hard decisions.
Larry Wallenstein: “Life is a series of challenges and we all have to go through something at sometime, so be strong, be brave and go deal with it.”
SRT is not used on people diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer because melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body and cause serious illness and death.
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