Right now the only way to treat the second most common type of skin cancer–squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)–is through surgery. Doctors cut out the tumor and then follow up with radiation to make sure all the cancerous cells have been destroyed. But what if there were a non-invasive treatment that could accomplish what a surgeon’s knife does now?
That dream may soon be a reality, thanks to a bandage that delivers radiation to the affected area. The radioactive bandages deliver the same amount of radiation that patients normally get now. When scientists placed it on mice for an hour, their cancerous tumors either disappeared entirely or had shrunk considerably. The beauty of these bandages is that they can be as large or small as needed, the researchers said–particularly helpful because SCC tends to crop up on the parts of the body that are most exposed to the sun’s harmful rays: the face, arms and legs, and neck.
The next step is to test this new cancer treatment on larger animals, and then humans. And that’s great news–every year, roughly 700,000 Americans are diagnosed with SCC, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.