A new skin patch eliminates basal cell carcinoma
Each year about 100,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with non-melanoma cancer, and of those around 80% are basal cell carcinomas. Unlike other forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is usually slow-growing and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, if left untreated it can spread into deeper layers within the skin making treatment more difficult and could ultimately spread to the bones. Now a new treatment in the form of a skin patch has proved to be extremely effective.
Usually, this form of skin cancer is treated by surgery. While that isn’t so much of a problem if the cancer is somewhere less visible – on a foot, for example – it can occur on the face and surgery can leave unsightly scarring, or be difficult to perform such as when the cancer is near the eye or lips, for example. This new skin patch focuses radiation treatment only on the cancerous area, meaning a patient can be treated without the need for surgery and without the need for a stay in hospital.
Researchers from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India, gave the treatment to 10 patients, all of whom had facial basal cell carcinoma. The patches were applied for three hours on three occasions within one week. When the researchers checked up on the patients in the study, three months later, then three years later, they found that eight out of 10 had been entirely cured and were still cancer-free. Although further study on a larger scale is needed to ascertain exactly how effective the treatment is, this is positive news. As the patch’s radiation is limited to the skin’s surface, it doesn’t harm other areas on the face or other, deeper areas within the body and leaves the patient without the disfiguring scars that can occur with surgery.