Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic therapy is another skin cancer and pre-cancer treatment option. A dermatologist can determine if PDT could benefit your case.

What is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)?

Photodynamic therapy involves the use of a topical liquid drug called a photosensitizer that is absorbed by the cells in the body, causing them to be more sensitive to certain light. When exposed to light energy, the cells produce a form of oxygen which then kills nearby cells. PDT can be used to treat different areas of the body to kill cancer cells and shrink or destroy tumors.

Photodynamic Therapy or Blue Light to Treat Cancer

PDT can be used as a preventative treatment to treat precancerous spots like Actinic Keratosis from turning into a more serious form like squamous cell carcinoma. During PDT, the photosensitizer is administered where it will be absorbed by cells in the body. After a few hours, the drug will have left normal cells but will remain in cancer cells. at this time, the spot is exposed to a blue light, causing it to begin oxygen production to destroy any precancerous cells nearby.

When is PDT Used?

Your dermatologist might suggest PDT for non-melanoma skin cancers such as:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Bowen’s disease
  • Actinic keratosis

PDT can be an alternative to surgery or be combined with other treatment options. If you have a large, shallow skin cancer spot, PDT can help destroy the cancer or prevent growth.

What to Expect with PDT Treatment

Before treatment begins, a cream containing a light-sensitizing agent will be applied to the pre-cancerous spots and surrounding skin. The cream can take a few hours to absorb into the skin. After the cream has been properly absorbed, a blue light will be directed at the area. Precancerous cells that absorbed the chemical are more sensitive to the light and will be destroyed. In some cases, even cancer spots can be treated at once with PDT.

After treatment, the skin will be extra sensitive, and the treated area will scab over. You will be given after-care instructions. If you had a larger cancer or precancer spot, a second treatment might be required after healing from the first one.

PDT is only effective in certain cases. A dermatologist can determine if your cancer or precancer spot can be treated with PDT. Contact Jupiter Dermatology if for more information or to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss PDT and other treatment options.

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