Looking for an effective way to treat non-melanoma skin cancer or actinic keratoses on the face or scalp? You may want to consider photodynamic therapy as a nonsurgical treatment option.
Integrated Dermatology of Coral Gables is dedicated to providing our patients with a wide variety of effective treatment options for both medical and cosmetic ailments. Contact us today if you’d like more information about any of the treatments we offer, or are interested in scheduling a consultation appointment.
What is Photodynamic Therapy?
Photodynamic therapy, also referred to as Blu-Light therapy, is a method of treating photoaging, nonmelanoma skin cancer and actinic keratoses on the face and scalp. It uses a photosensitizer agent and activating light to kill or decrease the size of problem cells. It is especially useful when radiation or surgical methods can’t be used to treat a case of nonmelanoma skin cancer.
How it Works
During photodynamic therapy, a photosensitizing agent is applied to the affected area. Over time, the agent is absorbed and then the Blu Light is applied. The Blu Light activates the photosensitizing agent, causing it to to kill or shrink problem cells. This also stimulates the immune system, bringing additional healing aid to the area.
Benefits of Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy is an excellent treatment option for many patients. While surgery might be slightly more effective in destroying skin cancer cells, photodynamic therapy does not leave scars or produce the same lingering, adverse effects as radiation. When used to treat squamous cell carcinoma and actinic keratoses, it has been shown to be just as effective as cryosurgery.
Downsides of Photodynamic Therapy
The light used in photodynamic therapy cannot penetrate more deeply than one-third of an inch of tissue, or one centimeter. Because of this, it cannot treat any ailments deep inside the skin. It is also less capable of treating large tumors or more extreme cases of skin cancer. This is mostly because it is a localized treatment and cannot target multiple sources of disease.
While this method does not feature some of the most extreme adverse effects of other treatments, it has its own downsides. Because the photosensitizing agent is absorbed by all of the cells in the treatment area, it can cause burning, swelling, pain, and scarring in healthy tissues.
Skin conditions can be a huge source of stress and frustration. Contact us today if you’re interested in learning more about how photodynamic therapy can help improve your actinic keratoses or nonmelanoma skin cancer.