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Electron Beam Therapy (EBT) for Skin Cancer

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. EBT also eliminates the risk of surgical scars, as it is non-invasive, precise and a painless treatment.

What is Electron Beam Therapy (EBT) Electron beam therapy is a type of radiation that is used to treat very shallow (superficial) skin cancers. It is different than other types of radiation that treat deeper in the body using photons or protons. Electron beam therapy is given using a linear accelerator and is available at Radiation Oncology Center of Ventura County centers. The electron beam is shaped for treatment using a custom block made of a metal-like material.

How is electron beam radiation therapy different than standard radiation therapy? Electrons tend to release their energy close to the skin's surface and are often used to treat tumors close to the surface of the skin. Some examples are:

  • Skin tumors
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Other facial sites
Since electrons release most of their energy near the skin, the dose of radiation to deeper tissues is minimal.

What are the side effects?

Most common side effects are skin redness. Your skin can become red, dry, and darker in color. It may look or feel like a sunburn. This begins toward the end of treatment and often gets better a few weeks after treatment is done. Your skin may stay redder, darker, and drier than it was before treatment. Do not use perfumed lotions or soaps or band-aids. Try to avoid shaving, scratching your skin, and going out in the sun. Be sure to always use sunscreen and seek shade when you are outdoors.

Is electron beam radiation therapy right for me?

Yes, if you have skin cancer, it is an excellent choice. Electron beam radiation therapy, for the treatment of skin cancer, is painless and non-invasive. Talk with your radiation care team about any questions or concerns you might have.