Photodynamic therapy is a procedure used for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer), and for precancerous lesions such as actinic keratosis.
WHAT IS PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY?
Photodynamic Therapy is based on the application of a photosensitizer presented in the form of cream that induces the accumulation of molecules called porphyrins in the target cells, and a subsequent illumination with a light source.
This light selectively destroys the damaged cells through a chemical reaction.
Methylaminolevulinate is regularly used as a photosensitizer and as a red light emitted by a diode lamp.
WHAT IS PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY USED FOR?
Photodynamic Therapy is approved in Spain for the treatment of actinic keratosis (premalignant lesions caused by sunburn) and for the treatment of a type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma.
In adiition to this, it is also used for photo-aging, obtaining excellent results, especially in skins that present sun damage. Several studies about multiple pathologies such as acne and warts are being are currently being carried out.
HOW IS THE TREATMENT WITH PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY CARRIED OUT?
The procedure consists on the application of a photosensitizing cream on the area being treated, covering it from light for about 3 hours. After this, the lamp light is applied for 7-14 minutes, depending on the extension of the treatment area.
During the light period and the following hours, the pacient might feel some pain or a burning sensation in the area that has been treatment, which will dissapear with the application of cold air or thermal water.
The following days after the treatment, redness and possible scabs can appear which dissapear after 4-7 days. Sun protection is essential for the next 48 hours after treatment.
This technique obtains excellent results with only one session in the treatment of actinic keratosis and after two sessions in the case of basocellular keratosis.
The biggest advantage it presents is that many large areas are able to be treated at once, as well as the ability to treat lesions that are not clinically visible, therefore having a preventive and positive effect on skin cancer.