What is IG-SRT?
Clarity Dermatology strives to be a leader in dermatology in Colorado. With the addition of Image-Guided Superficial Radiation Therapy (IG-SRT) for the treatment of skin cancer to our location in Boulder, we are furthering that goal and becoming one of the most comprehensive skin cancer treatment centers in the state.
IG-SRT is the most advanced office-based superficial radiation treatment available. It combines the proven effectiveness of superficial radiation therapy (SRT) combined with ultrasound imaging, allowing us to fine tune your treatment dosing and watch your skin cancer shrink over time.
IG-SRT is effective, painless, and does not involve any surgery. If you are interested in learning more about whether you are a good candidate for IG-SRT, please schedule a consultation in our office today.
What kinds of skin cancer can IG-SRT treat?
IG-SRT can be used to treat basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer. It is not used to treat melanoma.
What is the treatment for IG-SRT like?
On your first visit, we evaluate the size and location of the skin cancer and review the pathology report with you. Then, a treatment area is drawn, the tumor depth is measure with high frequency ultrasound, and a “simulation” is performed. A simulation is when we determine what kind of shielding will be required to protect the surrounding skin and how that shielding will be placed on your body. This is a painless process and is similar to what occurs when visiting a radiation oncologist. There is no treatment performed at the first visit, as some planning and calculations need to occur in order to treat you with the correct dose.
After the simulation appointment described above, you with then return to the office 2-3x weekly (for a total of 20 visits) to receive small doses, or “fractions,” of treatment. Each of these appointments typically lasts 15 minutes and involves setting up the treatment area with shielding followed by actual treatment for about 20-40 seconds. The treatment is painless.
Frequently Asked Questions
IG-SRT has a proven track record as an effective treatment for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Numerous studies have demonstrated cure rates that range between 92-99%. These cure rates are based on selection of appropriate tumors by your provider.
Both IG-SRT and electron beam radiation therapy (which is typically used in the hospital setting) are effective treatments for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. IG-SRT, as the name implies, treats skin cancers that are superficial (thin) in nature. For most situations, IG-SRT can treat deep enough to cure most skin cancer. However, some skin cancers invade deeply, are high risk (due to location, size, or histology), or track down nerves and/or blood vessels. In these cases, a combination of surgery and/or electron beam radiation therapy are used to achieve a cure.
If you are not sure which treatment option will be best for you, we can help. When you come in for a consult, we will sit down and discuss the pros and cons of each treatment in the setting of your overall health picture, your goals, and the characteristics of your skin cancer.
Like any medical treatment, there are potential expected and unexpected side effects from SRT. At your consultation, these will be reviewed in detail.
- Pink/redness/peeling in the treatment area during the course of treatment (similar to a sunburn)
- Loss of hair in the treatment area
- Treatment failure (recurrence of skin cancer)
- Minor skin/pigment change several years following treatment
- Theoretical increased risk of skin cancer in treatment area many years following treatment
- Increased risk of reduced ability to heal in high risk areas such as the lower leg
Yes. IG-SRT has also been shown to help prevent the recurrence of keloids (thickened, growing scars) following surgical excision. This treatment typically only requires 2-3 treatments immediately following removal of the keloid.