Radiotherapy for skin cancer

Radiotherapy uses high energy waves similar to x-rays to kill cancer cells. It is a treatment for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). It is usually given to treat skin cancers that cover a large area of the body or are difficult to operate on. 

You might have radiotherapy after surgery to try to lower the risk of the cancer coming back (adjuvant treatment). Or you might have radiotherapy if your cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or another part of your body, such as the lungs.

Planning radiotherapy

Radiotherapy planning means working out the amount (dose) of radiotherapy you need and exactly where you need it.

Radiotherapy for skin cancer

There are 2 main types of radiotherapy, external and internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy). The treatment you have will depend on where the skin cancer is and how big it is. 

Superficial radiotherapy to the skin

Superficial radiotherapy is a type of external radiotherapy. It treats cancer on or close to the skin surface. 

Last reviewed: 
09 Feb 2023
Next review due: 
09 Oct 2026