Dr. Robert Bentley Brings New Skin Cancer Treatment to West Alabama
West Alabama now has access to a non-invasive cancer treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer, the most common cancer in humans. Dr. Robert Bentley has teamed with Skin Cure Oncology to deliver low-dose radiation treatments for skin cancer using Superficial Radiation Treatment (SRT) for patients.
“We diagnose and treat a high amount of non-melanoma skin cancers at our practice,” said Dr. Bentley. “We are so pleased we now can offer this treatment for our patients as an alternative to surgery.” The SRT delivers precise, low dose radiation that only goes skin deep to safely destroy cancer without damaging healthy tissue. Unlike Mohs Surgery, the surgical option for treating skin cancers, there is no cutting or stitching or plastic surgery needed to repair scars. “Before SRT, patient’s only option was to have to surgery, but now they have an option if the patient doesn’t want to have surgery again, or if they have issues that may prevent them from having surgery,” Dr. Bentley said.
Because of the low-dose of radiation delivered, the treatment is performed at Dr. Bentley’s medical practice, Dermatology Care of Alabama, by a Radiation Therapist. Chris Hannon has been a radiation therapist for 26 years working in north Alabama, South Carolina and Texas and recently joined Dermatology Care of Alabama, working with SkinCure Oncology to treat the patients Dr. Bentley refers for the in-office cancer radiation treatment.
Non-melanoma skin cancer can also be treated through hospitals and cancer treatment center that utilize linear accelerators. Unlike SRT, linear accelerators are built to deliver more powerful radiation throughout the body.
With SRT, the radiation only reaches six millimeters, the depth of the skin. All of the SRT radiation goes to the skin, treating the targeted lesion, nothing internally is affected. Typically squamous cell or basal cell carcinomas require 20 treatments, which is about three per week for patients.
SRT has about a 95 percent cure rate.
With this new modality, Dr. Bentley is encouraging more people get screened for skin cancer. Dermatology Care of Alabama has held several free skin cancer screenings with large turnouts. “Getting screened for skin cancer can save your life. Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer, but it is the most treatable, especially if we can catch it early enough. With the SRT your treatment options are much better, especially if we can help you avoid surgery.”
The non-surgical, in-office cancer treatment is covered by most major insurance carriers. However the downside to the in-office treatment is the lack of coverage by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama on its commercial plans. Those plans will only
cover the linear accelerator treatment performed by a radiation oncologist in a cancer treatment center or hospital.
“Most all commercial insurance covers SRT, including Blue Advantage and even Blue Cross from other states,” said Dr. Bentley. “I certainly hope for our patients that Blue Cross Blue Shield would consider covering the SRT for patients with skin cancer.”
Dermatology Care of Alabama began treating patients with the SRT in early March. “We’ve heard nothing but good things from our patients regarding the treatment. It’s such a favorable alternative to surgery and the results are outstanding.”
Dermatology Care of Alabama is located at 4960 Rice Mine Road NE Suite 40 in Tuscaloosa.