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Less is more when treating the nasal ala with superficial radiotherapy

International Journal of Radiology & Radiation Therapy
Lucy M Butcher,1 Gerald B Fogarty,1,2 Susan Sinclair,3 Hanna Kuchel,4 Robert Paver5

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Skin cancer is the most common malignancy, is increasing in incidence, and occurs most commonly on the head and neck. Cancers of the nasal ala pose therapeutic challenges given the cosmetic and functional importance. Both surgery and radiotherapy (RT) have similar oncological outcomes. RT is tissue-conserving and may have an advantage in cosmetic and functional outcomes, but more comparative trials are needed. RT needs to be delivered well to avoid late effects such as skin atrophy, fibrosis and telangiectasia, which may increase with higher dose per fraction. We describe three cases of self-reported thinning of the nasal ala following definitive mildly hypofractionated superficial radiotherapy (SXRT) of 2.5 Gy per fraction. SXRT to skin cancers of the nasal alar with standard fractionation of at most 2 Gy per fraction may be important in ensuring excellent cosmetic outcomes and patient satisfaction.


case report, radiotherapy, radiotherapy dosage, dose fractionation, skin cancer, nasal ala, external nose, Australia