HDR radiation helps other skin problems too
HDR radiation can be an effective treatment
for skin conditions other than cancer. Among
- Keloids. These are thick scars that form on
the skin, often after ear piercings or stiches.
Despite surgical removal, they tend to come
- Hidradenitis suppurativa. This rare but painful
and debilitating condition causes deep nodules
and pustules to form on the skin, often in areas
such as the underarm and groin. Frequently, it
leads to scarring.
Like the disease it treats, chemotherapy, or chemo, has earned the reputation of being harsh and frightening. Simply saying the word makes some people uneasy. But cancer treatment isn't what it used to be--advances in medicine have made great improvements.
"More so than not, it is a fear of the unknown that makes people uncomfortable, says Craig J. Gordon, D.O., director of Oncological Services at Botsford Hospital. "[Cancer] is the same disease, but our treatments nowadays are totally different."
Easing side effects
Chemo refers to the use of medication to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It's often used in conjunction with other treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy. According to Dr. Gordon, chemo works best on cancer's quickly dividing cells, attacking and destroying them.
Unfortunately, other cells in the body, such as those responsible for hair growth, digestion, and fighting infection, divide quickly too. So as these are attacked, people can experience side effects such as hair loss, nausea, and increased risk of getting sick.
In the past, little could be done to stop side effects but now they can be eased with medication –making treatment easier to tolerate and patients more likely to continue on schedule. "That's important," say Dr. Gordon. "Timely treatment means your chances of doing better are greatly improved."
Medications are also used as an new approach to treatment. Many, developed only recently, are tailored to specific characteristics found in individual tumors. They target cancer but spare healthy cells. For example, there are medications that:
All of this is improving quality of life for patients, and the future promises more advancement. Dr. Gordon’s prediction is optimistic:” Chemotherapy may become a thing of the past. I don’t know that we’re going to see that in my lifetime, but I think at some point it’s going to happen.
To learn more about the full range of cancer treatments available at Botsford Cancer Center, including other types of radiation therapy, surgery, and treatments specific to skin cancer, call (248) 471-8120.