External Radiation Therapies : EBRT : Superficial

Some types of cancer can be disfiguring due to their location on the body. The surgical procedures to remove cancerous tissues can also leave scarring. For these situations, Superficial radiation therapy may be a treatment option. This painless procedure can offer excellent cosmetic results and it is much less invasive than the traditional surgical approach. Superficial radiation therapy uses a low energy x-ray radiation beam that only penetrates the top surface layer of the skin, avoiding deep tissue damage and minimizing scarring. Older skin cancer patients who take blood thinning medications, patients with large scars or those that want to avoid scars may be candidates for superficial radiation therapy.

Superficial
Body Sites Multiple sites
Physicians All
Location
Therapeutic Technique EBRT
Radioactive Source
  • Electrons
  • KV
Equipment
  • Linear Accelerator
  • Superficial Kilovoltage Unit
Method of Delivery External

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Terminology

  • Radioisotope Therapy (RIT)
    Radiation treatment therapies that utilize radioactive sources are called radiotherapies, or radiation therapy. These sources use high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons, and other sources, to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation damages both cancer cells and normal cells by damaging their genetic material, but normal cells are able to repair themselves and resume proper function. Because of the powerful properties of radiation, proper targeting of cancer cells is essential. Treatment therapies offered at UAB can be administered either externally or internally. External radiotherapies emit radiation from a source outside the body via a machine and include “External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)” and “stereotactic radiosurgery” procedures. Internal radiotherapies place radioactive materials inside the body. They may be placed in the body near cancer cells, using “brachytherapy”, or they inject or infuse a radiolabeled substance into the body via “Radioisotope Therapy (RIT)”. Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy or surgery.
  • IGRT
    IGRT is an acronym for Image Guided Radiotherapy. A cutting-edge technique, IGRT is a form of CT-Guided IMRT that continually takes multi-dimensional images during the course of treatment and based upon the images taken, adjusts the shape of the radiation beam to the shape of the tumor. The goal, of course, is to improve the accuracy with which the prescribed dose is administered to the target area, sparing healthy tissues that surround the tumor.
  • EBRT
    EBRT is an acronym for External Beam Radiation Therapy. It is a group of externally-administered radiation therapy treatments that deliver radiation to the patient via a linear accelerator. Radiation treatment therapies in the EBRT group include IGRT (Rapid Arc, Tomotherapy), IMRT, 3D Conformal Radiation Thearapy (3D CRT), Superficial, Total Skin Irradiation (TSI), and Total Body Irradiation (TBI).