Treating skin cancer without surgery
SAN ANTONIO - Cutting-edge technology to treat skin cancer without surgery that used to only be available in hospitals is now being used in regular doctors offices.
Experts say one in five Americans will, at some point, develop skin cancer. The disease doesn't discriminate: everyone from light to dark skin tones is at risk.
And you don't have to be a beach person for the sun to leave its mark.
"I felt something growing here," patient Jose Valadez says while pointing to his left cheekbone. "It was almost like a piece of spaghetti there."
He got skin cancer from too much time behind the wheel of his work vehicle.
"And of course, this is the side that faces the sun normally, and that's where I got my spot," Valadez says.
Since the spot is on his face, Dr. Lindsey Finklea from Rainey Dermatology recommended a non-surgical treatment called Sensus SRT-100 Vision.
"It's a less invasive way of curing skin cancer and it offers the same cure rates," Dr. Finklea says.
The superficial radiation therapy kills off cancer cells right below the skin. Ultrasounds show the tumor shrinking.
"The tumor that is still underneath the skin cells is being measured here by the line," Dr. Finklea says while pointing to an ultrasound.
The scan also shows a green area underneath the tumor, where healthy cells are growing back.
The treatment takes a total of six weeks, with radiation sessions two or three times each week.
"There's no pain. There's no needles. There's no cutting," Dr. Finklea says. "And very importantly, there's also no disfiguring scars."
Valadez just finished his last trreatment.
"I'm in here about five minutes. The treatment lasts 30 seconds," he says, "If I'm lucky, it won't come back."
He says take it from his generation: "Use your sunscreen," Valdez urges. "It's very important. I didn't for the longest time. Use the sunscreen."
By EMILY BAUCUM