Jump to:     Diagnosis  •  Treatment  •  Clinical  •  Outcomes and Payments

Diagnosis

What is cancer? / What is skin cancer?

Cancer is a diverse group of illnesses, characterized by the rapid reproduction of abnormal cells, which invade into normal tissue. The diagnosis is Skin Cancer when those abnormal cells start out in your skin.

How do I recognize skin cancer? / Do I have skin cancer?

On our website we have pictures of the various types of skin cancer and you may find it helpful to compare the marks on your skin to the pictures on our site. If you do think you may have skin cancer, you should make an appointment with a dermatologist. .

How did I get skin cancer?

Basal Cell Skin Cancer is often caused by over-exposure to the sun. Even repeated exposure to low levels of radiation from sunlight can lead to this type of skin cancer. Squamous Cell Skin Cancer can also be caused by sunlight, but it's also often related to environmental factors. People with light or fair skin are more likely to get skin cancer, but it can happen to anyone. In fact, over five million people in the US will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. So if you're dealing with it, know that you're not alone. The good news is that these types of skin cancer are usually very treatable.

Can skin cancer kill you? / What will happen if I don't get treated?

Non-melanoma skin cancers are very treatable. The outlook for Basal Cell Carcinoma is good, and in most instances can be treated and cured. The outlook for Squamous Cell Carcinoma is also usually very good, especially if the cancer hasn't spread to other parts of the body, or become overly invasive. While non-melanoma skin cancer is rarely fatal, it's important to get treatment to avoid the cancer from getting worse or spreading.

Treatment

What is IG-SRT?

Image-Guided Superficial Radiation Therapy, often referred to as IG-SRT, is the latest non-invasive, non-melanoma skin cancer treatment option. It involves using a machine to treat the skin cancer cells with very low-level radiation that only treats the skin and not the normal tissue below, so that they stop growing and eventually die.

How does IG-SRT work?

By delivering a precise and calibrated dose of radiation that penetrates just below the skin’s surface, IG-SRT safely and effectively destroys malignant non-melanoma skin cancer cells while preserving the healthy tissues surrounding the treatment area.

What treatment options are there for non-melanoma skin cancer?

Treament options vary depending on the site, size and depth of the cancer. If it's really minor, sometimes the biopsy process gets all the cancer. Other options for minor skin cancer issues include: Cyrosurgery, where the cancer cells are destroyed by freexing them with liquid nitrogen; Photodynamic Therapy, where light therapy is used to kill the cancer cells; Chemotherapy, where either a cream or injection may be used to kill the cancer cells, or surgical techniques other than MOHS. For more invasive skin non-melanoma skin cancer, there are two main options: MOHS Micrographic Surgery and IG-SRT. MOHS is a sugrial procedure where the tumor is removed piece by piece. Each piece is looked at under the microscope for cancer cells. Further pieces are removed until no cancer cells are seen. The aim is to remove all the cancer but to remove as little healthy tissue as possible, but usually leaving a scar, or the need for a repair including plastic surgery. IG-SRT involves using a machine to destroy the cancer using radiation.

What's better, Mohs or IG-SRT?

There are a number of reasons to choose IG-SRT over surgery. (1) With IG-SRT, you wont have to undergo anesthesia. Anesthesia is pretty safe these days, but it's not 100% safe and there may be side effects like nausea, a sore throat, and impared judgement for a period of time after surgery. Since IG-SRT doesn't require anesthesia, you can avoid those protential side effect and you completely eliminate any risk associated with anesthesia. (2) IG-SRT doesn't involve cutting so, unlike surgery, there's no bleeding, no stitches, no pain, and virtually no risk of nerve damage. (3) Cosmetically, because IG-SRT doesn't involve cutting, sp there's no scarring. With MOHS (surgery), there's a likelihood of scarring and potentially the need for cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, which can be expensive, time consuming, and painful. (4) With IG-SRT, there's no downtime or lifestyle restrictions. After each treatment, you go about your day. With MOHS, there may be some post-surgery downtime, you may have to avoid some activities while you heal, and some people may not be comfortable having others see them while bandaged up during the healing process.

Is IG-SRT the right choice for me?

IG-SRT is often an excellent choice for many people, including those who: aren't healthy enough to undergo an operation; can't tolerate anesthesia; don't heal well; take blood thinners; have a compromised immune system, are diabetic or pre-diabetic. There is a small risk (less than 10% over the following 20-30 years) that the radiation from IG-SRT may increase the likelihood of developing skin cancer in the treated location later in life, and those 30 and under should take this into consideration. 

Who does the treatment?

A medical doctor oversees your care, and the actual IG-SRT treatment is performed by a Board Certified Radiation Therapist specially trained in superficial radiation treatment.

How long does the procedure take?

You'll typically be in and out of the office in under half an hour, with treatment itself taking about 15 minutes. Delending on your particular situation, treatment will involve several office visits a week for a few weeks.

What does the treatment involve?

The treatment involves the Radiation Therapist having the patient having a seat, or lying down on a treatment table, imaging for localization and evaluation of the tumor's overall response to date via high-frequency ulstrsound, placing a leaded apron, a leaded thyroid shield, leaded glasses or lead covers over the eyes, placing a lightweight cone over the tumor, and the Radiation Therapist turning the machine on to treat the tumor in about 20-25 seconds. Since many patients have more than one skin cancer, often times more than one tumor is treated during the same visit which makes the time in the treatment room a little longer. It is painless, there's no need to hold your breath, and when the machine finishes you are not radioactive, making it completely safe to be around family and friends the entire time you are being treated.

Does the treatment hurt?

You shouldn't feel a thing during treatment, other than having to stay still during the treatment itself. 

Is IG-SRT safe?

The SRT-100 Vision™ is FDA cleared, and is a safe and proven technology that effectively treats non-melanoma skin cancers, keloid scarring, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. It is utilized by dermatologists and radiation oncologists all over the world because it delivers great patient outcomes.

What are the side effects?

Reddening or dry skin which heals quickly after completing the full treatment.

Do I need to bring someone with me to help me get home?

Unlike surgery, IG-SRT involves no pain, no anesthesia, no cutting, no bleeding, and no stitching, so if you're able to make it to the office on your own, you shouldn't have any issues after the treatment.

Clinical

What kind of equipment do you use?

All our practices make use of IGSRT, or Image-guided Superficial Radiotherapy technology from Sensus Healthcare, the most sophisticated and cutting-edge SRT device in the world. Their SRT-100 Vision™ has been cleared by the Federal Drug Administration for use on the entire body—making it especially effective in the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer and keloid scars.

Why doesn't my doctor offer this treatment option?

Unfortunately, most dermatology offices and cancer treatment centers have not made the investment in SRT equipment and training, and while they may do great work in treating skin cancer with the treatment options available to them, they're unable to offer state-of-the-art SRT.

What can you tell me about the doctor?

We work with more than 70 medical practices across the country, and your dermatologist has had formal training in the use of SRT, and has brought into his/her practice industry-leading radiation therapy experts to oversee and administer the treatment. He/she is registered with your State as an expert Authorized User of SRT, and is licensed to perform this treatment. He/she is commited to a cancer-center quality safe SRT program, designed to meet the needs of his/her patients, without the patient having to go to a cancer center, and offering his/her patients a non-surgical alternative to curing their skin cancer.

Outcomes and Payment

How effective is IG-SRT treatment?

No two patients are the same but the statistics show that IG-SRT has a cure rate approaching 100%

What treatment option has the best outcome?

Statistically speaking, IG-SRT and surgery have the best results. Both have a cure rate approaching 100%.

Do you take insurance?

Yes, most commercial insurance carriers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, cover SRT.

How much does treatment cost?

IG-SRT typically costs about the same as surgical treatment and because there's no need for cosmetic surgery to fix the damage cause by a MOHS surgical procedure, so, there are times when IG-SRT is actually a more affordable option. IG-SRT is covered by Medicare and Medicaid and is usually covered by commerical healthcare insurance. Depending on which practice you choose for treatment, we may be able to help you coordinate verification of your coverage and the possible out-of-pocket deductible. If you're interested in learning which practices offering IG-SRT are closest to you, please give us a call.  

Do you have a more affordable option?

Patients who do not have secondary insurance that covers what MediCare and commercial insurance don't cover, can often set up payment plans and/or complete financial hardship forms to help alleviate out of pocket expenses. We can help you work with the practice regarding this. As with all insurance, patients are always responsible for any deductible expenses.