Skin Cancer - Radiotherapy Innovations Offer Hope For Patients

An update from Prof. Gerald Fogarty - Radiation Oncologist - GenesisCare the Mater

Traditionally, there have not been many options for those suffering with large areas of sun damaged skin. Now, radiotherapy offers a ray of hope, says Gerald Fogarty, radiation oncologist at GenesisCare the Mater.

Skin cancer is usually treated with surgery, which involves tissue sacrifice/loss which can impact on functional and cosmetic outcomes, resulting in a poorer quality of life. Radiotherapy brings tissue conservation to skin cancer treatment, with similar oncological control. This is particularly important for people whose cancers are on areas such as the nose, ears, eyelids, lips and digits.

Better technology means that radiotherapy can now be used for treating extensive fields of Bowen’s disease that can give rise to invasive cancers. These areas are typically the bald male scalp, foreheads, cheeks, backs, forearms and lower legs. These can be resistant to topical treatments like efudix.

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Innovations at the Mater

GenesisCare is the Mater Hospital's provider of radiotherapy and is the main radiotherapy provider for the Melanoma Institute of Australia. They continue to improve the modern skin cancer radiotherapy treatment journey at the Mater and have created the adaptive split course radiotherapy (ASCRT) for locally advanced lesions that requires five days of treatment then eight weeks off, followed by another five days. This is an ideal treatment method for frail, elderly patients who have mobility issues.

Treatment options are also available for benign disease such Dupuytren’s, and research is underway into the use of radiotherapy in stubborn extra mammary Paget’s disease, psoriasis and difficult rosacea.

Referrals for a radiation oncology opinion for skin cancers can be issued from your GP.


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Prof. Gerald Fogarty is a Radiation Oncologist with a special clinical interest in skin cancer. He is a recognised authority in the radiation treatment of skin cancer, with a PhD in modern radiation treatments of skin cancer. In addition to treating patients at GenesisCare Mater, Prof Fogarty is also on staff at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melanoma Institute of Australia and the Skin & Cancer Foundation Australia in Sydney. He has over 100 publications. He is the main author of the radiotherapy chapter for the recently published Cancer Australia Guidelines on keratinocyte cancers.