The new method to treating skin cancer is called SRT, or superficial radiation therapy. It has been around for about 50 years, but now that treatment is available in more localized doses, and doesn't have to be done in an oncology facility, but right in your doctor's office.
"This is completely painless. In fact, it was probably one of the most relaxing parts of my day," said 55-year-old Thomas Fentress, who was talking about raditation therapy. He told us, "Dr. Finklea found something on my shoulder and said she wanted to look into it, did a biopsy, called me, and let me know that it was something worth treating there and gave me options."
He says this localized method of SRT was the best option for him.
"One of the possible treatments was to cut it out with stitches right on your shoulder, that would have possibly involve limiting movement and discomfort as well," Fentress said.
Dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Finklea told us, "There is no cutting. There's no pain. There is no scar. There is no wound to take care of, less risk of infection, and you don't have to stop your blood thinners to do that type of therapy.
The treatment starts with an ultrasound, then a focused dose of radiation which Dr. Finklea says focuses on just the top layers of the skin cells. "It is a photon energy that just destroys the cancer and leave the other tissue unscathed."
After six weeks and roughly 20 treatments, Fentress had nothing left to worry about. "You forget about it most of the time. You just have to remember your treatments," he said.
Dr. Finklea added, "It's just a great option for people who are fearful of needles, don't like the pain aspect of getting skin cancer cut out or they just don't like the big dystrophic kind of scars."
If you're concerned about any spot on your skin, Dr. Finklea says call your dermatologist, get seen, and talk about what your treatment options may be.