The Doctor’s Ultimate Wish List for Ending the Skin Cancer Epidemic
Despite tireless public awareness campaigns aimed at encouraging sun-safe behaviors and advances in skin cancer detection, the rates of this all-too-common, but highly preventable cancer continue to rise.
Nearly 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each day, and fully one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. What’s worse, one American dies from melanoma – the potentially fatal form of skin cancer – every hour.
We can, and should, do better. In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month (which takes place each May), we reached out to five top skin cancer doctors to find out what their greatest wishes are for ending this epidemic.
9. Superficial Radiation Therapy (SRT) for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers
Superficial Radiation Therapy, or SRT, is an FDA-cleared, low-energy x-ray radiation technology that doctors use to treat non-melanoma skin cancers. It allows doctors to focus 100 percent of the energy directly on cancer cells, penetrating no deeper than 5mm below the surface, which preserves the surrounding tissue, explains Aventura, Florida-based dermatologist Dr. Mark S. Nestor, MD.
“Compared with surgery, SRT is a virtually painless treatment that doesn’t require anesthesia, cutting or stitching and doesn’t result in bleeding or scarring as a result.” Most importantly, SRT for non-melanoma skin cancers offers comparable cure and recurrence rates as Mohs surgery. “As a non-invasive, yet highly effective, treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers, SRT can treat a larger patient population, including those who are not surgical candidates or people who are surgically fatigued (individuals who have had multiple surgeries for skin cancer over the years).”
“Skin on the face, scalp and legs is especially prone to skin cancer, so these are the areas where SRT is used the most,” adds Nestor. “SRT allows patients to have multiple treatments over time to clear skin cancer, avoid surgery, and have a better cosmetic result once complete.”