POSTED: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - 9:29am
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:24pm
New cancer treatment saves lives and looks...
There's a treatment for skin cancer, that's so new, it's not yet available in most cities.
It allows patients to avoid disfiguring surgery when the cancer appears on their face.
An avid golfer, David Newman has spent 60 years teeing up under the hot sun.
"Being out in the sun and I got skin cancer on my lip," said Newman.
To treat it, he potentially faced having a big chunk of his lower lip surgically removed.
Fortunately the treatment he did have was successful.
This is the Gulmay X-Strahl Superficial Radiation Therapy Machine.
"These are low energy x-rays, the patient can't feel, see or hear it. It's just like getting a chest x-ray. The difference is it delivers the energy directly to the skin," said Radiation Oncologist Dr. C Dale Young.
For one month, Newman came to Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City three times a week for three minute treatments.
The machine is the only one of its kind in northern California.
Doctors are using it to treat both basal and squamous cell carcinoma.
Doctors are using the machine to treat skin cancer all over the body from the nose to the shin, any thickness of skin.
This approach has proven to be between 95 and 98 percent successful in treating skin cancer.
Newman is proof.
He's now skin cancer free and is convinced this machine saved him from disfiguring surgery.
"My face would have changed and I’m a good lookin' kid," Newman joked.
Most insurance providers cover the cost of this new procedure.