ABOUT two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old.
And each year more than 750,000 people across the nation are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal and squamous cell.
The statistics are alarming, but there is some comfort to be taken from recent advancements in skin cancer treatment.
Non-invasive radiation therapy has emerged as a popular option for patients who cannot undergo a general anaesthetic, where surgical removal of the cancer would result in considerable disfigurement, and for the treatment of larger areas.
“Modern radiation therapy, coupled with careful treatment planning, now delivers an unprecedented level of efficacy and safety,” says radiation oncologist Dr Jeremy Croker.
Radiation therapy typically involves a series of 10-minute treatments spread over two to three weeks, and side effects are generally rare and akin to mild sunburn.
Ninety per cent of patients reported good or excellent aesthetic outcomes in a published review.
In most cases the non-invasive treatment can completely remove the tumour while preserving the surrounding tissue, and is a popular choice for people who have skin cancer on their face.
Radiation therapy can also be used to treat returning skin cancer, or after surgery when all the cancer has perhaps not been removed.
GenesisCare, Australia’s largest provider of radiation therapy services, has three sub-specialised skin radiation oncologists, Dr Croker, Dr Jerry Freund and Dr Evan Ng.
They are busy working with dermatologists across Australia to collect data to assist in the development of new research to treat dermatological conditions.
“Radiation therapy has advanced considerably over the last decade and technology is improving all the time,’ says Dr Ng.
If you are diagnosed with a treatable skin cancer, ask your dermatologist if radiation therapy may be a suitable treatment option.
GenesisCare has WA clinics in Wembley, Murdoch, Joondalup and Bunbury.