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Cutaneous radiotherapy

6 June 2012, by MAZERON J.-J.

Radiotherapy refers to the treatment of disease using the biological properties of ionizing radiation. There are several possible techniques:

– teleradiotherapy or external beam radiotherapy refers to treatment with ionizing radiation beams generated by a machine located at a distance from the body;

– brachytherapy is the use of radioisotopes implanted within the body. Depending on where the radioactive source is implanted, brachytherapy can be further subdivided into contact brachytherapy when it is placed next to the tumour, in the air or a natural cavity, and interstitial brachytherapy when the sources are placed directly in the target tissue of the affected site.

In dermatology, radiotherapy is used to treat visible skin and mucous membrane carcinomas, cutaneous lymphosarcomas, mycosis fungoides and Kaposi sarcoma. It is of limited use for the treatment of malignant melanoma. It is not used (or only under exceptional circumstances) for benign conditions other than cheloids.

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