Treatment of Bowen’s disease with a specially designed radioactive skin patch
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Bowen’s disease can be treated by various methods, including surgical excision, cryosurgery, laser ablation, curettage, Mohs’ microsurgery and ionizing radiation. Radiotherapy has been a useful therapeutic modality in the treatment of Bowen’s disease and other skin cancers in areas which are difficult to excise, especially the central areas of the face, including eyelids, nose and lips. To overcome some of the disadvantages of external radiotherapy, a specially designed skin patch coated with high-energy beta-emitter holmium-166 was made for topical application at our institute. Twenty-nine sites of Bowen’s disease in eight patients, confirmed by skin biopsy, were treated with 166Ho patches. The patches were applied to the surface of skin cancers for 30–60 min for a total radiation dose of 35 Gy (3500 rads). One to two weeks after application of the 166Ho patch, desquamation, erythema or erosion developed in treated sites, but these acute radiation reactions healed gradually with epithelial regeneration, and they showed good functional and cosmetic results without any complications. Follow-up biopsies were performed 1–5 months after 166Ho patch therapy, and they did not show any signs of Bowen’s disease. One to two years after treatment with 166Ho skin patches, there were no recurrences of Bowen’s diseases and no late complications. The 166Ho patch is an effective and convenient alternative method for the treatment of Bowen’s disease that yields good cosmetic and functional results.
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