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Photodynamic Therapy Treats Pre-Cancerous Growths Invisible To the Naked Eye

Posted on: October 9th, 2022 by Dr. Christopher Crosby

Not all sun damage is permanent. Sometimes sun damage can be undone. However, in order to target the sun damage a doctor must use a specialized treatment. The experienced team of doctors at Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic utilize photodynamic therapy (also called PDT) as a specialized treatment for pre-cancerous lesions. Here, we discuss how photodynamic therapy treats pre-cancerous growths.

What Is Actinic Keratoses?

Your skin shows evidence of sun damage, some of which is barely visible to the naked eye. One indication that your skin has experienced sun damage is actinic keratoses. Actinic keratoses are small lesions that can be invisible to the naked eye. These pre-cancerous growths are more than just evidence of sun damage. The growths are also evidence of an increased risk for the development of skin cancer in the future. While these growths can be invisible, any noticeable skin changes should be examined by an experienced dermatologist. Contact Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic today if you notice skin that feels scaly or rough.  

How Can Photodynamic Therapy Help?

If your dermatologist discovers actinic keratoses, they will discuss your treatment options with you. One of those treatment options is photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy works by combining photosensitizing agents with light to destroy pre-cancer cells. The treatment triggers your body’s immune system to target tumor cells without harming nearby tissues.

What To Expect During Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy is an in-office procedure that can take a few hours to complete. Once therapy is complete, you will be able to return home with little interruption to your routine.

Photodynamic therapy is a two-step process. The first step is the topical application of the photosensitizing agent. The topical agent is left on the skin for up to two hours. The second step is the application of blue light for approximately 16 minutes. The light activates the photosensitizer. After the light treatment, patients are free to go on with their day, but strict sun protection is a must.

Patients are encouraged to avoid UV exposure the first two days after treatment. Sunscreen and other face protection are encouraged to reduce exposure to sunlight. Within the first few days of treatment, patients can expect some swelling and redness as well as a possible tingly feeling. The first week after treatment, patients may notice that the areas treated are red and scaly.

Every patient is different. However, most patients can expect improvement with one to two photodynamic therapy sessions.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Photodynamic therapy can treat pre-cancerous growths invisible to the naked eye. To learn more about photodynamic therapy, please schedule a consultation at our La Mesa office. Call or text (619) 462-1670 to reach our friendly team today.

Coastal Skin & Eye Institute/Grossmont Dermatology