Deciding on an effective approach for treating slow-developing skin cancers by using radiation therapy can be a tricky thing. Skin basal and squamous cell cancers (BCCs/SCCs) popularly found among elderly populations aged over 60 years need radiation therapies in case where surgery is ruled out due to health complications. Often, the radiation therapy is preferred for treating cancer cells when these surface near eyes, nose, lips, or, ears of the patients. Hitting on a regimen that selects the apt length and course of radiation therapy can be difficult for clinicians and oncologists. This is due to the observation that shorter course can lead to long-term damage, while higher course with small doses can be expensive as well as inconvenient. A recent study conducted at Penn State College of Medicine strives to take a closer look at the cosmetic outcomes and recurrence rates of different length-course of radiation therapy regimens for BCCs/SCCs.
The detail of the meta-analysis and the system review were recently published in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology in October, 2017.
Research ruled out any Difference Between a Shorter- and Longer-Course Regimen
The one-of-its kind comprehensive international researchers analyzed the treatment of as many 9729 skin BCC/SCC patients from across seven countries in 21 studies. The subjects were aged starting 62 to 84 years old and the studies of the effect of the treatment was followed for a period of 1-6 years. The team was skeptical of the standard approach of delivering radiation therapy in small doses and on a frequent, almost daily basis. The studies didn’t identify any noticeable difference in cosmetic outcome between a shorter- and longer-course therapies. Rather, the team found that 80% of the patients receiving high-dose radiations delivered over short-course duration reported a favorable cosmesis.
Short Course Regimens over Few Weeks Likely To Be Most Favorable Approach
Most common types of long-term skin damage are skin discoloration and the development of spider veins. However, skin cancers didn’t recur at the sites for regimens of all durations. The researchers inferred that short course regimens consisting five, seven, or 15 treatments is the most favorable approach for patients aged over 70 years. The results are vital since, often, these patients have mobility and transportation problems. The results also bode well for elderly patients in the age of 60-70 years.