Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Radiation Therapy for Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells. This procedure may require 15 to 30 visits to a facility with special equipment. Radiation
therapy may be used in combination with other types of therapy to treat
aggressive or recurrent skin cancer.
Recovery time may vary depending on the site treated and the amount
of radiation used.
Radiation therapy may
Surgery and radiation are the primary treatments for nonmelanoma skin cancer, but studies show that surgery has the best results.footnote 1 Still, radiation therapy has very good cure rates and cosmetic results, so sometimes it is the treatment of choice.
Risks of radiation therapy to treat skin cancer include the
Side effects are common but typically go away when treatment is
finished. They include:
Radiation therapy is most often reserved for use in older adults.
It may lead to other skin cancers in younger people as they
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2012). Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, Version 2. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/nmsc.pdf.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.