Crozer Regional Cancer Center Now Offers ‘Surface Brachytherapy’ to Treat Skin Cancer Patients - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 06, 2016

Crozer Regional Cancer Center Now Offers ‘Surface Brachytherapy’ to Treat Skin Cancer Patients

Media Contact:
Aubrey Proud
(610) 447-6171
Aubrey.Proud@crozer.org

Practice Contact:
Precision Radiation Oncology
(610) 447-2740

The Crozer Regional Cancer Center in Upland and its radiation oncologists have utilized external beam/brachytherapy as a cancer treatment option for hundreds of patients with prostate, lung, skin and GYN cancers for over 16 years. Guided by this experience and recent advancements in the field of radiation oncology, Stephen Arrigo, M.D. of Precision Radiation Oncology, PC, recently started using a relatively new treatment plan at Crozer for non-melanoma skin cancers called surface brachytherapy to treat skin cancer patients where surgery is not the preferred option.

The common schedule for this treatment plan includes 10 doses of targeted radiation administered through a radiation source just above the skin, on a schedule of 2 or 3 times a week for patient convenience, compared to 25-30 daily treatments of external beam therapy.

Over the past year, Arrigo and a team of physicists have successfully treated dozens of patients with a tumor control rate of over 90 percent measured out at five years. His patients are typically on blood thinners, are not good surgical candidates, have mobility concerns due to living a far distance or in a nursing home, and are seeking an alternative form of treatment for skin cancer that presents in areas such as the face, hands, wrists and lower legs. Arrigo comments, “This newer technique is more focused, it penetrates less into the deeper tissues, and has less side effects. We like that for our patients.”

Two of Arrigo’s patients (Patient A and Patient B) illustrate the benefits of surface brachytherapy. Here is a brief overview of each patient’s situation and results.

Patient A lives over an hour from Crozer, and he had developed a skin cancer on the inner part of his left thumb. This patient visited a surgeon who commented that if the tumor was to advance too deep, an amputation of the thumb could be necessary. In the effort to seek an alternative form of treatment, this patient reached out to Arrigo, who was able to offer surface brachytherapy within the standard treatment plan outlined above. A radiation source was provided through a custom-fitted cast for the patient’s thumb to prevent additional radiation from affecting the hand, wrist or forearm. Currently, this patient is doing well and the tumor was successfully removed.

Patient B is on blood thinners, requires a wheelchair, and lives in a local nursing home. He developed a skin cancer on his nose, and his surgeon was not anxious to take him to the operating room to surgically remove the tumor given his health condition. When Arrigo was introduced to this patient, he was able to create a mask for the patient’s face to minimize additional radiation exposure, and by following the standard treatment plan outlined above the patient’s tumor was also successfully removed. This patient did not have any nose bleeding and there was only minor redness around one eye, and the patient was comfortable during the treatments.

For more information on surface brachytherapy and all of the comprehensive cancer care available through the Crozer Regional Cancer Center and the Crozer-Keystone Health System, visit crozerkeystone.org/Cancer.

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