An Alternative To Surgery For Treating Skin Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture
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May is national skin cancer awareness month. TOPEX, Inc. located in Danbury, CT is helping to fight this disease with a low energy or superficial x-ray therapy system specially designed for this treatment procedure. This new system provides an alternative to surgery for treating basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, especially for primary lesions requiring difficult or extensive surgery with sensitive structures in the head and neck regions -- the fold in the nose, eyelids, lips, corner of the mouth, and the lining of the ear that would otherwise lead to a poor cosmetic outcome. These treatment procedures do not require the use of anesthetics and eliminates the need for skin grafting when surgery could result in a less than desirable cosmetic outcome. This procedure also benefits those patients who have a fear of surgery or a needle phobia, for those patients who have contraindications for reconstructive surgery that are taking anti-coagulants and blood thinners and for those that cannot tolerate general anesthesia. The high clinical outcome cure rate and low recurrence for this type of x-ray procedure is demonstrated in a clinical paper from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 53, Issue 6, December 2005.

Over 1.0M new skin cancer cases are diagnosed annually and increasing at a rate of 4% per year. Increased exposure to the sun without skin protection and a decreasing natural ozone layer are cited as the chief causes of this increase -- a problem estimated at over $1B in annual medical treatment expenses. Over 80% of skin cancers occur in the head and neck regions with 50% occurring in those over 60 years of age. The over 60 population is rising and is expected to double in size by 2025.

The incidence of skin cancer has steadily increased over the past 75 years. During the 1930's, 1 in 1500 developed skin cancer. In 1960, the rate had risen to 1 in 600 and in 2000, the rate increased to 1 in 66. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 1 out of 7 is now at risk for developing some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Increased exposure to the sun without skin protection and a decreasing natural ozone layer are cited as the chief causes of this increase.

The clinical objective of TOPEX is to effectively treat skin cancer through non-invasive therapeutic x-ray procedures with improved cosmetic outcomes. With this objective, the TOPEX system provides advantages to patients, physicians, healthcare providers and insurance payers that include the following:

For the Patient -- The procedure is accurate, safe and pain-free. The TOPEX system provides patients an alternative to surgery.

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For the Physician -- Superficial x-ray therapy is a proven procedure for treating skin cancer and has a lower potential for cosmetic issues combined with a high cure rate history of effectiveness.

For the Practice -- As a dedicated system to treat skin cancer, the medical practice benefits from increased patient referrals. The system has no special environmental requirements such as special power sources or waste disposal. The compact design requires minimal floor space with mobility for patient treatment flexibility.

For the Payer -- Superficial x-ray therapy provides an alternative to surgery and a high cure rate history of effectiveness. The insurance industry, including Medicare part B widely accepts this procedure for reimbursement.

TOPEX began product development during 2003 after consultation with industry experts and the completion of a market needs analysis. The company was incorporated in the state of Connecticut during 2004 and in 2007 received FDA approval, European CE Mark and ISO 13484 Certification meeting the requirements for quality manufacturing standards, performance consistency and internal process documentation requirements.

Since receiving all required certifications, TOPEX has been developing a global dealer/distribution network and now has several systems operating in the USA, South Africa, Europe and Australia.

The company attended the 2007 ASTRO (Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) and the 2007 AAPM (American Academy of Physicists in Medicine) receiving an overwhelming acceptance by the attending Oncologists, Physicists and Technologists for the product's design, ease of use, integrated safety, control console functions and automated set-up procedures.

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