Patient Case Study – Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Case study pics (1)

Patient overview

Our patient was a 77-year-old female who came to us following a referral from her doctor. She had a Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) on her right big toe, as well as Bowen’s disease on her left and right second toes.

After struggling with the SCC on her right big toe for almost 10 years, understandably this patient’s overall wellbeing was significantly impacted, with everyday tasks such as wearing closed in shoes and walking becoming almost unbearable. This increasingly affected her quality of life.

Following initial diagnosis of the SCC, countless local therapies, including surgery were endured, all without success. Undergoing superficial radiotherapy meant we could provide her with curative treatment and a way to avoid potential amputation. The Bowen’s Disease on her two second toes, while not as severe, also required attention, with superficial radiotherapy deemed a suitable treatment option for these as well.

Initial consultation and prescription

The patient arrived at Just Skin Treatment Clinic on 15 March 2017 for her initial consultation with Colin Dicks, our Radiation Oncologist, who reviewed her medical history and examined the affected. Treatment was prescribed and appointments were scheduled for all three areas to be treated at the same time.

The process

All three skin cancers responded well to the treatment throughout the process. Superficial radiotherapy does cause an acute skin reaction, with this patient’s skin reacting exactly as expected and as outlined below.

During treatment

First week
No apparent change, possibly some skin dryness towards the end of the week.

Second week
The skin became dry and red, albeit was not painful.

Third week 
The skin became inflamed, with the outer layer starting to break down. As per the healing process of any wound, some a crust began to form with some general discomfort experienced.

Fourth week
The skin redness and soreness continued, with the peak occurring approximately 7 days following treatment. From here, skin healing progressed rapidly, with soft new skin forming, free of skin cancer.

Following treatment

One-month post treatment
Our patient walked into the clinic a new person. The healing process was almost complete, she had a new pair of shoes on and was walking relatively effortlessly. She had lost the nail from her big toe, which was expected, but fresh skin was in place of the once predominant and unpleasant skin cancers.

Eleven months post treatment
By the time our patient came back for her yearly review, her toe nail on the right big toe had almost completely grown back and the skin looked as though it had never been impacted with skin cancer.

Considering the severity of the skin cancer, particularly the SCC, we were amazed at how quickly it had healed, and as expected, the patient was over the moon.


Superficial Radiotherapy is a proven and relatively painless treatment option for non-melanoma skin cancers. While we recognise it is not suitable for all patients, it is something that all people suffering these types of skin cancer should consider.

If you have any questions or queries relating to the treatment process or superficial radiotherapy, please feel free to call our clinic on 5348 9460 where we’d be more than happy to chat to you.

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