Superficial Radiation Therapy

What Is Superficial Radiation Therapy?

Treatment of certain skin cancers may lead to scarring. Here at the cancer institute, some patients qualify for a less invasive treatment known as superficial radiation therapy.

Superficial radiation delivers radiation therapy using X-rays. The beam only penetrates the surface of the skin. This type of therapy avoids deep tissue damage and minimizes scarring, particularly around the face.


What to Expect

Superficial radiation therapy is painless. It is a nonsurgical outpatient procedure. Depending on the area of the body being treated, you may be asked to lie down on an exam table, stand or sit upright in a chair. Treatment lasts a few minutes. The area being treated may feel warm during treatment.

Doctors may recommend multiple therapy sessions.


Possible Side Effects

Side effects of superficial radiation therapy are limited to the part of your body receiving the radiation. Side effects may include:

  • Dryness
  • Hair loss
  • Itching
  • Redness


Cancers Treated

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Kaposi's sarcoma