Photodynamic Therapy for Pre-Cancerous Skin Cells

Of the many potential uses for Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), treating pre-cancerous cells is one of the most beneficial. Studies have shown that it is one of the most effective methods for this skin condition. After only a few months of treatment, pre-cancerous skin-which often presents as rough spots called actinic keratoses, or solar keratosis-frequently shows noticeable improvement.

These skin lesions can vary in size. They are often scaly and appear in areas exposed to the sun most often-face, ears, arms, etc. People who spend a lot of time outdoors are at risk of this type of cancer, particularly if they do so without sun protection. If these lesions are not treated, they can easily become cancerous. Photo Dynamic Therapy can significantly reduce the amount of pre-cancerous cells, treat any cells that are already cancerous, and rejuvenate the skin.

A light-sensitizing topical medication is applied to the areas of the skin that will be treated. Once the medication is applied to the skin, time must pass-without exposure to direct sunlight-before it is ready for the light to be used. This solution is activated by the light and proceeds to kill the pre-cancerous cells.

The treatment takes time and may call for more than one visit; each person is different. It is important to discuss any dermatological allergies and sensitivities with the doctor prior to treatment. Most people do not experience significant pain or negative reactions, but, as with any treatment, there are potential side effects.

The treated areas usually heal within a week, but they may be more sensitive to sunlight, so staying out of the sun is important. There may be some redness, swelling, and peeling. It is essential to follow the doctor’s regimen for care post-procedure. Avoid time in the sun and do not go tanning. As long as the doctor approves, use a moisturizer regularly.

The treatment is not right for everyone; simply having pre-cancerous lesions isn’t enough. The patient should not be pregnant or taking certain medications. If the person has a tan, it could affect the results, too. Most people who do undergo the procedure, however, are pleased with the outcome. The process often does more than treat the lesions; it revitalizes the skin. This is why PDT is used to treat other skin maladies, such as rosacea and acne.

If you have lesions on your skin, even if they’re small, don’t wait to have them evaluated and treated. While they may not be cancerous, they can become so. Come see us at Inverness Dermatology and Laser, and ask us about Photodynamic Therapy for pre-cancerous skin cells.

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