As with any medical treatment, it is important to learn all that you can about it and to have all your questions answered. If you or your doctor think that a spot on your skin could be skin cancer, a piece of the skin will be removed and tested. This is called a biopsy. If the biopsy shows basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, you may choose to have Image-Guided SRT. Image-Guided SRT can cure these two common types of skin cancer. It is not right for people with melanoma skin cancer.
Before the First Image-Guided SRT Treatment Session
The first step in having Image-Guided SRT is the simulation. This is a test-run of an actual treatment session. It is done in the dermatologist’s office. During the simulation, you will:
- Talk about goals and expectations for treatment
- Meet the radiotherapist who will do each Image-Guided SRT treatment
- Learn how many treatment sessions may be needed
- Hear about how X-ray energy will be used to kill the cancer cells
During Each Treatment Session
During each treatment, you will sit or lie back in the chair. The radiotherapist will put a shield over you, like the one you wear at the dentist’s office when you get X-rays. A smaller piece of the shield with a cut-out for the skin cancer will also be put on the area being treated. The arm of the machine is then placed over that cut-out. This radiotherapist steps out of the room and starts the treatment while still monitoring you. Each treatment is pain-free and takes about 15 minutes total.
As the X-ray energy works to kill the cancer cells, the skin may look red. You may choose to use an ointment to help with the redness. By the time the last treatment session is done, and the cancer is cured, the redness will be gone, too.
Image-Guided SRT is a simple process. Understanding the steps and having your questions answered can help you feel more comfortable during treatment. To see what a typical Image-Guided SRT treatment looks like, watch this video of Dr. Ladd.