A study published in the May 2012 issue of Cosmetic Dermatology may offer hope for patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer of eye lids. The study looked at 11 patients who received radiation therapy for nonmelanoma skin cancers of the eyelid in the last three years. Each of the patients involved in the study, led by Gary L. Marder, DO, FAOCD, received hyperfractionation treatments (where radiation is divided into smaller doses and administered multiple times a day), consisting of two treatments a day, for 20 days. Some patients also received topical anesthetic drops to ease the discomfort of the procedure. However, all patients received antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection. In total, every patient was given 40 treatments.

All 11 patients reported being extremely satisfied with the exceptional cosmetic outcome of the radiation therapy as well as the pain-free treatment course. Common side effects were minimal, but included temporary loss of eyelashes in the treated area and mild irritation. Irritation and eyelash loss were short lived. More importantly, there was no scarring of the eyelid at one or 20 years after treatment.

Research shows that 13 million Americans are living with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer. “Our results indicate that radiation therapy for non-melanoma skin cancers of the eyelid should be a first-line treatment option. However, radiation is likely used less than it should be,” says Marder. “As physicians, we must consider radiation a valuable treatment in the fight against these skin cancers.”

For more information:
Gary L. Marder Radiation Therapy Offering Hope and Excellent Cosmesis for Treatment of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer of the Eyelid: A Retrospective Review. Cosmetic DermatologyMay 2012 Vol. 25 No. 5

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