Mike had a quarter-sized spot on his leg that was not healing. A patient of Dr. John Binhlam’s dermatology practice for more than 20 years, he decided to seek treatment to heal his leg. A diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma led him to non-surgical superficial radiation therapy (SRT) treatment from Dr. Binhlam using the RADiant system at Advanced Skin & Laser Center in Brentwood, TN.
With my Irish complexion, I’m prone to having little things pop up on my skin, and I see my dermatologist annually to take a look at everything. This past year, there was a spot on my left calf area that just wasn’t healing for months. Dr. Binhlam performed a biopsy and it came back as a squamous cell carcinoma.
We discussed all that was involved with the different treatment options. One option was surgery, but the location on my leg made me pause. I wasn’t terribly excited about having an incision there. In particular, I was concerned about the healing process in that location. Another option was superficial radiation therapy (SRT) treatment in his office. We discussed the process and a treatment plan, and I reviewed the literature about it. I felt very positive about the method and the convenience of it. Dr. Binhlam explained that there would be multiple short, 15-minute treatment sessions over several weeks, which some people do not want to deal with. However, since I live very close to the practice, that didn’t concern me.
Treatment and Recovery
All of my treatments were conducted in a regular exam room, using the RADiant system from Xstrahl. Medical staff secured my leg and did skin mapping to target the area. The first thing that surprised me was the length of the actual treatment. The medical team left the room and came back in about a minute later. It was like nothing happened! It was just painless. My lesion was treated in a total of 17 short treatment sessions, which ended in October.
It is healing nicely. There was a slight discoloration of the area for a few months after my treatment ended but it has disappeared now. The treated area on the outside of the calf had also been irritated by the pant leg rubbing on it, but this didn’t start until late in the treatment series. It wasn’t painful and I was able to use an over-the-counter ointment to soothe the itching.
The treatment schedule had little impact to my days since I live so close by the office. It was such an easy process of simply seeing your dermatologist. They usually did treatments twice a week which could simply be rescheduled if necessary. It was very convenient to arrange and took just moments on treatment dates. The full treatment cycle is now completed and I don’t anticipate needing any more. I will have a follow up in 3-6 months to check on the healing.
I’m very satisfied with SRT as a non-surgical option that works for me. And I’ve already recommended this to others – including my son! My son lives in another state but developed a skin issue that was also diagnosed as a squamous cell carcinoma on his face. His dermatologist suggested that he could remove it surgically, but I knew that could leave a facial scar, so I strongly encouraged him to explore the radiation process. His dermatologist referred my son to another doctor that offered SRT. I saw my son recently and it is almost impossible to see any kind of disfigurement. There is a little shiny area but you only see it in a certain profile or a certain light.
Michael J. Tucker is a retired 79 year old from Brentwood, TN. Since retiring he has published three novels and dozens of short stories. He never had time to write before retirement, and he is enjoying his new lifestyle very much.