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January 1990

Dermatologic Radiation and Cancer

Author Affiliations

Skin and Cancer Unit Department of Dermatology New York University Medical Center 562 First Ave New York, NY 10016

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(1):120-121. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670250126025

To the Editor.—  The editorial in the July 1989 issue of the Archives requires a response. Burns1 confuses grenz ray therapy with superficial radiation, overestimates the cancer risk following grenz ray therapy, and thereby invites confusion.A common mistake made by Burns in this editorial is grouping grenz ray with other x-ray modalities, and it is the purpose of this letter to report the existing risk estimates and to clarify the confusion between grenz rays and superficial x-rays.Grenz ray is defined as that x-ray having a half-value layer between 0.016 and 0.035 mm of aluminum, or a tube voltage of from 10 to 15 kV (50% of grenz rays are absorbed by 0.5 mm of skin).2Burns1 states, "Nevertheless, several studies have established the carcinogenicity of skin radiation therapies by conducting long-term follow-up of patients exposed to ionizing radiation in the form of low-voltage x-rays or

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