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How Photodynamic Therapy Treats Skin Cancer

Photodynamic Therapy for Skin Cancer - Does it Work

If you have been diagnosed with pre-cancer lesions called Actinic keratosis (AK) or are battling skin cancer, photodynamic therapy, or PDT, is a non-invasive treatment that may be beneficial. Below is some information about this highly effective treatment and how it may help with your condition.

What is Photodynamic Therapy?

PDT is a unique treatment for pre-cancer and cancer cells that uses a specific type of light (red or blue light) combined with a photosensitizing gel or solution to destroy cancer cells on the skin.

How PDT Treats Damaged Skin 

There are three steps in the process of this treatment. First is the application of the photosensitizing gel, second the incubation period, and finally the activation of the red or blue light to the treatment area. Your doctor will determine whether red or blue light treatment is best for you based on how deep the penetration of light needs to go. 

The photosensitizing agent used in PDT is absorbed by all types of cells in the body. However, it will remain in cancer cells for a longer period of time. This is why there is an incubation period before light exposure. After most of the photosensitizing agent has left normal cells in the body, your healthcare practitioners will expose the treatment area to light. The photosensitizing agent absorbs the light, reacts, and destroys the cancer cells nearby, leaving healthy cells undamaged.

When is PDT Appropriate?

PDT is appropriate when a patient has large but shallow basal cell carcinoma, Bowen’s disease, or actinic keratosis. With the heat in Central California, many people find that this treatment is best for the cooler months, so now is the perfect time to take advantage of this option. There is a recovery period, and you will be sensitive to light for a period of time. Repeat sessions are sometimes needed to remove all the damaged cells.

How To Learn More About PDT

PDT can be beneficial to patients with various types of skin cancer and related conditions. If you are interested in finding out whether you could benefit from PDT, booking an appointment with a qualified dermatologist is the best place to start. Request an appointment with a member of our team today. You can also read more about PDT here

Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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