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New skin cancer patch: Possible alternative to surgery
Date:6/15/2009

TORONTOA new study shows that a radioactive skin patch can safely and successfully treat basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common types of skin cancers, according to researchers at the SNM's 56th Annual Meeting. The skin patch, which delivers the radioactive phosphorus-32, is nontoxic and could be an excellent alternative to surgery or radiotherapy in cases where carrying out these treatments is difficult.

"While basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal, it can be a painful and disfiguring disease," said Priyanka Gupta, a nuclear medicine technologist in the Department of Nuclear Medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and lead author of the study. "It's exciting to think that this patch can deliver treatment on an outpatient basis with little risk of the scarring or other complications that surgery or radiotherapy present. This study opens a new dimension not only for treating skin malignancies, but also for nuclear medicine therapy in general."

Every year, approximately one million Americans are newly diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that forms in the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin. The cancer is not deadly in most cases, but it still must be treated to prevent spreading. The most common forms of treatment are surgery and radiotherapy. Surgery requires hospitalization, and radiotherapy involves multiple visits to a radiotherapist. Neither treatment provides a complete cure. For patients with cancers on the face, these treatments can leave permanent scarring and can be complicated to deliver, especially for cancers that are close to the eyes, nose or mouth. In 80 percent of the cases, basal cell carcinomas appear on the head or neck.

The study followed eight adult patients who elected to try the patch instead of surgery or radiotherapy. All patients had basal cell carcinoma on the face, and none had cancer cells in underlying facial structures. Sealed patches containing radio
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Contact: Amy Shaw
ashaw@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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