HDR Brachytherapy Skin Cancer

VCS Treatments


Radiation therapy works by causing DNA damage in cancer cells that cannot be repaired and leads to cancer cell death. It can be given externally or internally, depending on the type and location of the tumor. External radiation is delivered by a machine called a linear accelerator that generates high-energy beams that are precisely directed into the tumor. External beam radiotherapy is delivered over several days or many weeks depending on a variety of factors. Internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy, uses radioactive sources that can be temporarily inserted or permanently implanted in the operating room. Radiation from the implant travels only a short distance, which spares most tissues from treatment side effects.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Many patients with basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers will be treated surgically with excellent results. For selected patients who cannot (or choose not to) be treated surgically, HDR Brachytherapy provides an effective treatment alternative with few side effects. HDR Brachytherapy for skin cancer is:

  • Customized for each individual patient
  • Non-Invasive
  • Favorable in cosmetic outcome
  • Excellent in local control rates
  • Performed in a convenient outpatient setting

Gregory S. Sibley, M.D. and Harold Agbahiwe, M.D. Virginia Cancer Specialists Radiation Oncology

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                            [post_content] => Harold C. Agbahiwe, M.D. received his undergraduate education at Princeton University and earned his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine.  After an internship and residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Dr. Agbahiwe went on to complete a residency in radiation oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. During his time there, his research was presented at both national and international conferences, and he was the recipient of several awards, including the RSNA Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award, a Young Investigator Award from the Johns Hopkins Department of Radiation Oncology, and a HDR Brachytherapy Fellowship from the American Brachytherapy Society. He is board certified in radiation oncology and internal medicine.

Dr. Agbahiwe joins Virginia Cancer Specialists after serving on faculty at the Johns Hopkins Department of Radiation Oncology at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. He holds memberships in multiple medical organizations, including the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has also authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. He is experienced in the treatment of all types of cancers using the most up-to-date radiation treatment techniques.

Dr. Agbahiwe is dedicated to providing his patients with the highest quality of care. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, music, and film. He is proficient in French.

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                            [post_content] => Dr. Gregory S. Sibley joined Virginia Cancer Specialists after 14 years in Radiation Oncology at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.  Throughout his career, Dr. Sibley has focused on providing the highest quality care in the field of radiation oncology. He has positioned himself as an expert in the multi-disciplinary treatment of cancer and in state-of-the-art radiation treatment planning techniques. Within the US Oncology Network, Dr. Sibley is a member of the Executive Committee for Radiation Oncology and Vice-Chair for the Technology Committee. Dr. Sibley has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications, many while on faculty at Duke University Medical Center. Although well-versed in the treatment of multiple cancers, Dr. Sibley has special interest in breast cancer, brachytherapy for prostate cancer, and intensity-modulated radiotherapy for head and neck, and lung cancers.

In his spare time, Dr. Sibley is an avid hockey player and triathlete.

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Our Radiation Oncologists


For appropriate patients, HDR Brachytherapy provides optimal convenience and minimal disruption of a demanding day-to-day schedule. In comparison to a course of  standard radiotherapy, HDR Brachytherapy is considerably shorter (6-10 treatments vs. 30 treatments). Each HDR treatment lasts only a few minutes.


HDR Brachytherapy delivers a highly concentrated dose of radiation using a 30 channel Nucletron microSelectron® Digital HDR unit and the latest version of the Oncentra® treatment planning software.


In contrast to standard radiotherapy, HDR Brachytherapy focuses on the tumor with a more superficial beam. As a result, HDR Brachytherapy results in less radiation  delivered to a patient’s deeper, healthy tissues. Since the applicator is in contact with the skin, small patient movements do not affect targeting, unlike standard radiotherapy.

THE APPLICATOR – (Left) The Valencia applicator, which is used with isotope based brachytherapy, positioned on a hand. (Right) The Freiburg Flap applicator, a flexible piece of plastic with parallel tubes is placed on top of the skin lesion and a tiny radioactive seed travels down each tube. For large lesions on the side of the face or areas that wrap around irregular surfaces, then the flap can be used.

To schedule an appointment call: (703) 934-4450

Radiation Oncology Center, 10301 Democracy Lane, Fairfax, VA 22030