LAS VEGAS – July 7, 2016 – It’s been a while since 53-year-old Judy DeShone spent her days at California beaches to tan, but over the past several years, she’s been paying for it with multiple skin cancers.
“I had a kidney transplant years ago and then noticed a spot on my face that looked like a pimple, but it wasn’t healing,” said DeShone. “The nurses thought the anti-rejection medications had something to do with it and immediately sent me to a dermatologist.”
Sure enough, she was diagnosed with her first basal cell carcinoma, a usually benign skin cancer. Since then, she has been diagnosed with over a dozen skin cancers in spots all over her body and had them all surgically removed. This year, DeShone was diagnosed with another basal cell carcinoma, this time on her nose.
“The doctor said if we did usual surgery, it would leave my nose misshapen. He suggested I try radiation therapy at 21st Century Oncology this time,” she said.
DeShone was treated with a unique therapy called High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy, a powerful form of internally delivered radiation therapy that destroys cancer cells. Brachytherapy targets tumors with radiation delivered through a catheter. Since the radiation does not pass through healthy tissue to treat the tumor, it is extremely precise with less risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
“Studies have shown that organ transplant patients on immunosuppressive medications are at higher risk for nonmelanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma,” says Tam Nguyen, M.D., Board Certified Radiation Oncologist at 21st Century Oncology. “In Judy’s case, surgery to remove the cancer on the nose would’ve had higher cosmetic risks. HDR Brachytherapy allows similar cure rates in six short treatments with excellent cosmetic outcomes.”
“When I first got there, the nurses and doctors explained everything,” DeShone said. “The doctors were very careful to check on my progress and they did a great job. I had no pain and was still able to work while going through treatment. The recovery time was faster than surgery.”
DeShone continues regular follow up appointments at her dermatologist to check for new or changing spots. She also warns others about the importance of sunscreen.
“I have an 18-year-old daughter who likes to tan and I tell her all the time that she must use sunscreen. You need to protect your skin. Check your skin all the time and tell your doctor as soon as possible if you see anything unusual. Early detection makes it a lot easier to treat.”
For more information about 21st Century Oncology, visit www.21co.com/lasvegas or call (702) 894-5100.
About 21st Century Oncology:
21st Century Oncology is the largest global, physician led provider of Integrated Cancer Care services. The company offers a comprehensive range of cancer treatment services, focused on delivering academic quality, cost-effective patient care in personal and convenient settings. As of December 31, 2015, the Company operated 181 treatment centers, including 145 centers located in 17 U.S. states and 36 centers located in seven countries in Latin America. The company holds market-leading positions in most of its domestic local markets and abroad.