Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is prescribed for the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma, Bowen’s disease, and thin or non-pigmented actinic keratoses.
Photodynamic therapy involves 3 elements:
- A photosensitiser (instrument that makes the treatment target sensitive to light)
- A light source – an LED lamp or laser
The treatment involves applying a cream to the skin (Metvix) that contains chemicals which are absorbed by the abnormal skin cells that form skin cancer or precancer. During the three hours that the cream is on the skin, the chemical absorbed by the cells is converted into a product that is very sensitive to light (photosensitiser).
A light source is then used on the treatment site and the light interacts with the photosensitiser activating it and causing it to convert energy from the light to produce toxic oxygen free radicals. Toxic oxygen free radicals are produced damaging the cells that contain it. This reaction requires the presence of oxygen.
Photodynamic Therapy is conducted monthly on a Friday.