Electron Beam Therapy (Radiation)
Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer Treatment
Water’s Edge Dermatology is one of the only dermatology practices in Florida that offers non-surgical electron beam therapy (EBT). EBT offers patients a state-of-the-art, non-surgical option for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. The treatment uses a very thin, non-penetrating electron beam to destroy cancer cells in the targeted area while allowing protection of healthy cells. It is particularly well-suited for treating cancer near the eyes, ears, nose or lips. For most patients, the regimen involves two to six weeks of daily treatments, five days a week, depending on the size and location of the cancer. Read what our patients say about their treatment.
Dr. David Herold, a board-certified radiation oncologist at Water’s Edge Dermatology, recommends electron beam therapy in circumstances where Mohs surgery can prove challenging and for patients who desire or prefer a non-surgical treatment option.
Water's Edge Dermatology offers electron beam therapy at the following locations:
Benefits of Electron Beam Therapy
- 90% to 98% cure rate, depending on location
- Little or no discomfort during treatment
- Each treatment lasts less than five minutes
- Side effects are limited to the treatment site, usually involving gradual development of skin irritation, redness or “sunburn” that gradually dissipates after completing treatment
- Cosmetically satisfying results, with minimal or no scarring
"I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma on my lower leg and opted for radiation rather than Mohs surgery. The procedure was simple, quick. but daily (over 30 sessions). This is a totally painless procedure and (so far) successful."
– Leila S, Patient, 91 years old
"In 2019, Dr. Spock at Waters Edge Dermatology diagnosed skin cancer just under my left eye. I was expecting to have the cancer removed via surgery but Dr Spock informed me of some kind of radiation that could possibly cure the cancer. I made an appointment with the location in Wellington that performed what was called Electron Beam Therapy. I was met by Jennifer, Dr. Herold and the rest of the staff that performs only this service. They explained the entire treatment in detail and took me for a quick tour of the facility. They all made me feel like I was family. All I had to do was show up on time for about 6 weeks for only 15 minutes per session and at the end of treatment I had over a 95% chance of the cancer being cured. Well, it was a pleasure to see these people every single session. They were always fast and efficient and professional. At the end of my treatment my skin under my eye looked like it was slightly sunburned just as I was told. No cutting or stitches as I had originally feared via surgery. Within a few weeks my redness was gone and so was the skin cancer. Amazing!!! On top of this result, my social security plan covered the entire treatment. Thanks again to all of the staff for a successful experience."
– Phil K, Patient
“I want to thank you for being understanding and the generosity of care that you have shown me for a difficult time in my life that I was going through with the skin type cancer on my nose I want to say a special thanks to the radiation department Jennifer, Hyram , And to Dr. Herold . As you are aware I was seeking treatment with another oncology radiation doctor I was not happy with the treatment or in which the professional manner they do not show I’m so glad that I took the day to go in and meet all of you and to move forward with my treatment. I will always appreciate it you made what seem to be a very scary situation very comfortable and bearable to go through I want to thank all of you so much and God bless all of you."
– Robert R, Patient
"This is the third time that I have had basel cell carcinoma on my nose. The first two surgeries were performed by other doctors using the Mohs surgery techniques and the last using surgery to remove the visible cancer and then radiation. So, I am somewhat versed in both the procedures. I am incapable of describing the benefits of the radiation therapy as opposed to the Mohs surgery. Emotional well being is half the battle in life. I have a nose that looks exactly like before and the only pain was the needle for Novacain. What a blessing."
– Donna A, Patient, 77 years old
"I can honestly say that I did not know what to expect after I received a call from Dr. Platzer’s office that the diagnosis of the biopsy on my lower lip was basal cell carcinoma. My thoughts of having surgery and possibly being deformed was a little scary. I was then offered the option of having non-surgical treatment with Electron Beam Therapy (EBT). My first appointment for therapy was a consultation. I was a bit apprehensive and afraid, to say the least. I was greeted by Jennifer and taken into the exam room where I had the opportunity to discuss the details of the treatment, expectations and the outcome with the team. My fears were put to rest. I was very fortunate to have the best healthcare professionals taking care of me five days a week for six weeks. Everyone’s soothing manner made the time go by quickly. It has been about eight months since my first EBT and my lower lip has healed beautifully. Needless to say, I had to return for another round of EBT for basel call on my nose and everything turned out equally as well."
– Debbie M, Patient
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Interested in learning if electron beam therapy is a treatment option for your skin cancer?
Electron Beam Therapy FAQs
How does electron beam therapy work ?
Cancer cells, unlike normal healthy cells, have a reduced ability to repair damage from electron beam treatment. The electron beam is created by a computer-controlled medical linear accelerator that produces a pure therapy beam that is customized to the cancer site.
Unlike older technologies that use penetrating X-rays or strong, high-dose radioactive sources, the electron beam system used at Water’s Edge Dermatology protects healthy tissues. It works by delivering a series of small electron beam treatments to the cancer site that destroy cancer cells but allow healthy cells to heal.
How effective is electron beam therapy?
Superficial electron beam treatment is very effective at destroying both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Most of the published studies report cure rates ranging from 90% to 98%. However, many factors can affect the likelihood of cure, including the cancer size and location, the subtype of histology, if the cancer was treated previously, etc.
How long does the treatment take?
The total length of treatment time depends on several factors, including the size and location of the cancer and the overall desired cosmetic outcome. Most patients complete treatment in 10 to 30 sessions, each lasting less than five minutes. The longer treatment courses tend to deliver better cosmetic results. Throughout the course of treatment, normal everyday activities can be continued, including work and sports. There are no restrictions or limitations.
What are the side effects of electron beam therapy?
Side effects are limited to the treatment site. The type of side effects experienced depends on the size and location of the cancer and the length of treatment. In general, most patients gradually develop skin irritation or a sunburn-like redness in the treatment area. Prescription creams or lotions are available to help the healing process. Side effects do not usually begin until the second or third week of treatment and peak a few days after treatment is completed. Then, over the course of two to four weeks, the side effects gradually dissipate. You may lose hair at the treatment site, which might not grow back. There may be subtle lightening of the skin in the treatment area or the development of small spider veins years later. However, most patients are very pleased with their treatment results.
Is electron beam therapy covered by insurance?
Electron beam therapy is a medically accepted form of treatment for skin cancer. It is covered by Medicare and most major insurance carriers. Our billing specialists can confirm your insurance benefits to determine any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur with this treatment.