Total skin electron irradiation therapy

What is it?

Total skin electron irradiation (TSEI) is a treatment for a rare, generally incurable type of lymphoma called mycosis fungoides. This technique delivers high doses of radiation to the entire skin surface without affecting the underlying tissues and organs. As the only cancer center in Kentucky to offer this therapy, UK Radiation Oncology has more than 25 years of experience.

What should patients expect?

This type of radiation therapy uses electrons to superficially treat the skin, meaning the radiation does not penetrate the body very deeply. Patients stand in front a treatment machine during the treatments, which last about 30 to 45 minutes and occur two to three days a week for about 12 weeks. If necessary, physicians can “spot treat” any new skin lesions that appear after the 12-week treatment is completed.

Patients typically begin to see improvement in their lymphoma symptoms within two to three weeks of starting total skin irradiation.

What are the side effects?

Total skin irradiation can cause some side effects, including:

  • Dry, itchy skin.
  • Loss of finger nails.
  • Hair loss.