PDT is a modern and effective method for the treatment of precursors of light skin cancer (actinic keratosis, Bowen's disease) and also certain forms of basal cell carcinoma (basalioma). Even in the case of extensive light damage to the skin, PDT is an ideal form of treatment to treat invisible skin cancer precursors. The method is particularly gentle and a therapy-related scar formation can usually be avoided.
Which skin diseases can be treated with PDT?
The efficacy of PDT has been scientifically proven for the treatment of basal cell carcinomas and actinic keratoses. Actinic keratoses are early forms of white skin cancer, which are caused by chronic light radiation and are predominantly found in the face and back of the hand (light calluses). Basal cell carcinoma (basal cell carcinoma) is the most common form of skin cancer. It is considered to be semimalignant because, although it can destroy local tissue structures, it usually does not induce metastases.
How does the PDT work?
The skin lesions must - if necessary - be initially freed from a crust / hyperkeratosis, this is usually a curettage or laser therapy. Subsequently, a photosensitizer is applied in the form of an ointment, in addition, a film dressing is applied to improve the action of the active ingredient over 3-4 hours. The active ingredient is taken up by the altered cells and accumulates here. Subsequently, the skin is irradiated with a special red light lamp for about 10 minutes. In the malignantly altered cells it comes to an activation of the drug and the released oxygen causes a selective destruction. On the first day it comes depending on the existing skin damage to a significant crust formation. The subsequent healing phase usually proceeds without complications for a few weeks without visible scarring. Often, two sessions at intervals of 4-6 weeks are sufficient to get the best results.
What are the advantages of PDT?
PDT is a non-invasive treatment method that provides excellent cosmetic results. The malignant cells are reliably detected, including those that are not visible to the naked eye. Larger affected areas are also accessible to safe therapy.
What risks or side effects can occur?
During irradiation, burns, stinging and painful sensations may occur in the area of the pretreated areas. If necessary, painkillers taken prophylactically can alleviate the symptoms; this is discussed in each case by the respective doctor during therapy planning with the patient. In the days following treatment, the affected skin may get wet and crusting may occur (even if many or lower levels of skin cancer precursors are treated). If necessary, a new session must be carried out to optimize the treatment outcome.
What should be considered after a PDT?
You should not be exposed to the sun for 24 hours after treatment for safety reasons. Also in the following two weeks, the treated skin is increasingly sensitive to light and it must be paid to an appropriate sunscreen. It is advisable to apply light protection creams with a very high sun protection factor on sun-exposed skin areas (LSF50 +).