Electron Beam Therapy (Radiation) - Water's Edge Dermatology

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Electron Beam Therapy - Water’s Edge DermatologyWater’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

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:


  • 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


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.

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Interested in learning if electron beam therapy is a treatment option for your skin cancer?