[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
October 12, 1957


Author Affiliations

Santa Rosa, Calif.

From the Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1957;165(6):647-650. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980240005002

The need for radiation therapy in dermatology has been greatly reduced by recent developments in pharmacology and endocrinology. Striking successes with the use of antibiotics and steroids have led to the abandonment of radiotherapy in many diseases. In others, its use has been rendered more precise by new advancements in radiology. Irradiation of the skin can be more closely confined to the disease process by choosing the proper half-value layer from the zone of soft roentgen rays, by the use of beta-emitting radioactive isotopes, and by shielding. Dermatological radiation therapy is localized, the doses are minimal, and the exposure is fractionated. Accurate diagnosis is essential in order to avoid unnecessary irradiation, and is made possible by a thorough training in dermatology; accurate therapy is equally essential and is made possible by a thorough training in radiology and biophysics. Ionizing radiations are not the dermatologist's only form of treatment or his most important one, but he is bound to use them when such use is imperative for the good of the patient.