Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
For the Prevention of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can be prevented with sunscreen and by correcting previous sun damage sun spots or Actinic Keratosis (AKs) are precancerous skin lesions which have the potential to progress into a skin cancer over time. Some consider these to be skin cancers of the earliest form.
Who is a candidate for PDT:
Anyone who has had a previous skin cancer, has a family history if skincancer, has any damage from a lifetime of sun exposure and those who have been diagnosed with Actinc Keratosis.
What to expect during treatment:
On the day of treatment a topical medication will be applied to the targeted area. You will then relax in our office for 60-90 minutes while the medication penetrates into the skin. A special light will then be used to activate the medication. The light treatment takes approximately 15 minutes. Slight discomfort during treatment is normal. The number of treatments recommended will vary depending on the severity of the AK's and your individual response to the treatment. Most patients require 2-6 treatments annually, spaced one month apart.
Post Procedure Care:
Light sensitivity requiring aggressive sun protection (and from visible light sources) is required for 48 hours. Patients with a history of cold sores may need to take medication to prevent an outbreak. Please bring a scarf or wide brimmed hat to your appointment to protect the treated area. Ice packs, a cool fan and Tylenol are helpful during this time.
Possible Side Effects Post treatment:
Side effects will typically include about 1 week of a resolving sunburn-like reaction including swelling, redness, crusting and discomfort. We cannot guarantee but many patients may notice an overall improvement in the appearance of their skin including discoloration, fine lines, and a fresher look.
Alternative Treatment Options:
Many theapeutic options are performed by your Dermatologists based upon individual factors. These include freezing (Cryosurgery) individual lesions, Topical Chemotherapy (Effudex, Carac). Topical Immunotherapy (Aldara}, Specialty Peels, Lasers, and Solaraze. All options have their unique risks and benefits which are considered by your doctor when recommendations are made. Your Dermatology provider has recommended Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).
History behind Photodynamic Therapy (PDT):
While FDA has approved treatment for head & face, the treatments can safely be performed on other areas of your body with comparable effectiveness. The science behind the results takes advantage of chemicals your own body already makes. The medicine is applied to the treatment area and 1s absorbed mainly by the precancerous cells. It Is then converted into a second chemical by your body's own natural pathways. After the chemicals are wiped off the surface of the skin, the areas will be exposed to a special light which activates the medicine causing damage to the precancerous areas.