Radiation Therapy

What is Electronic Skin Brachytherapy?

Electronic Brachytherapy (Ebx) is a highly focused therapy that uses low-energy x-rays without using a radioactive isotope. The treatment thus maximally spares healthy tissues and can be delivered safely and conveniently in an unshielded room in a minimal amount of treatments.

This form of radiation differs from the more traditional delivery of radiation known as External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT), which also uses x-rays or electrons accurately directed to the area of the tumor, but must be delivered within a specialized treatment facility and requires daily treatments over several weeks.

Who is suited for Electronic Skin Brachytherapy?

Brachytherapy may be the treatment of choice when:

  • Looking for a painless, nonsurgical therapy
  • The patient has a primary basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma
  • Scarring needs to be minimal as the tumor is in a visible area (face or nose)
  • The tumor is located in an area where closure of the skin is difficult
  • Surgery has increased risks of complications due to a health condition or medication (clotting disorder, use of blood thinners, uncontrolled diabetes)
  • It is vital to preserve the structure and use of the area being treated (hand or ear)
  • The margins are positive after initial surgical excision
  • Advanced age

What is Involved?

The simple outpatient treatment takes place twice per week for 4-5 weeks and is under the leadership of Dr. Anita Pomerantz, a board-certified radiation oncologist and Clint, our radiation therapist. The number of sessions required will vary based on the tumor size, depth, and location. An individualized treatment plan with custom shielding is developed for each patient. During treatment, a small surface applicator is applied to the skin through which radiation is delivered for just a few minutes. The therapy is non-invasive and painless.

The patients are able to drive themselves home and immediately return to normal activities. As a superficial skin treatment localized to the skin cancer, there is no radiation exposure to other areas of your body or to anyone else.

Proven effective:

Cure rates are similar to surgery and EBRT; most people receiving brachytherapy remain cancer-free.

Painless Procedure:

Pain-free, knife-free and needle-free, no anesthesia or sedation is needed.

Minimal or no scarring:

Outstanding appearance of treatment site.

Minimal loss of use:

Little or no healthy tissue affected so loss of use is minimal compared to surgery.

Minimal side effects:

Accurate delivery of radiation directly to the tumor reduces the risk of side effects.

The convenience of short treatment:

Brachytherapy is often given over a few days compared to weeks of EBRT and unlike surgery, no recovery time is needed.