Radiation for Skin Mets

Radiation therapy uses beams of energy to kill cancer cells.

Your doctor may recommend this treatment if you have cutaneous metastases — a type of skin cancer that starts in another part of the body and spreads to the skin.

Depending on the situation, radiation therapy may be used alone or along with other treatments.

When Is Radiation Therapy Used for Skin Metastases?

Surgery is usually the preferred way to treat cutaneous metastases. But radiation therapy is a treatment choice for skin mets that are superficial (haven’t penetrated below the top layer of the skin) or can’t be cut out. Some elderly patients who aren’t well enough to have surgery may consider radiation treatment for their skin lesions.

Sometimes radiation is used after surgery if there’s a high risk that the cancer will spread. In this case, the therapy lowers the chances that the cancer will come back.

Doctors might also recommend radiation for metastases if your tumor is large, has grown deep, or is hard to remove. It can also be used to treat skin cancers that have spread to lymph nodes or other organs.

If your cancer is very advanced, radiation therapy can help lessen your pain and make you more comfortable.


Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is able to deliver high-dose radiation precisely while sparing normal adjacent tissues and has demonstrated promise in the treatment of many disease types where typical surgical, radiation, and or chemotherapy regiments are not feasible. No reports exist of SBRT use in the treatment of cutaneous lesions; however, hypofractionated regimens using conventional RT have showed good rates of local control with little toxicity when used as definitive therapy or cases of salvage.

Multidisciplinary treatment is extremely important in this rare metastases so that your team can communicate on best treatment options possible.