Photodynamic Therapy in Skin Cancer Treatment
If you’re looking for a safe and effective way to treat sun damage, ask our team at Current Dermatology and Cosmetic Center in Annapolis, Maryland about Red Light Photodynamic Therapy. This FDA-approved method is proven to be highly efficacious in treating pre-cancerous lesions, also known as actinic keratosis, and requires minimal downtime. Our patients have reported high satisfaction rates with treatment results, and we’re confident you will too. We encourage you to contact our team of professionals, led by board-certified dermatologists, Drs Molly Walterhoefer and Megan Casady Flahive to learn more about this innovative treatment and to determine whether it is right for you.
Photodynamic Therapy – How Does It Work?
Photodynamic Therapy is a two-step process. In the first step, a topical photosensitizing gel called aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is applied to the skin. The topical solution is then preferentially absorbed by damaged, pre-cancerous cells, making them extremely sensitive to light. In the second step, the treatment area is exposed to red LED light, which causes the ALA to become activated. Activation of the ALA triggers the destruction of damaged cells while leaving surrounding healthy cells unharmed.
Are You A Good Candidate for Photodynamic Therapy?
If you are currently dealing with existing pre-cancerous lesions or are noticing visible signs of sun damage, Photodynamic Therapy may be a good option for you. Because Photodynamic Therapy results in minimal side effects and downtime, it is excellent for our patients who may not otherwise have the time required for alternative treatment options. Schedule a consultation with Drs Molly Walterhoefer or Megan Casady Flahive to find out if this treatment may be suitable for you.
What To Expect Following Your Treatment
While downtime is minimal, patients must adhere to strict sun avoidance for 48 hours following Red Light Photodynamic Therapy treatment by either staying out of the sun or covering the treated area with sun-protective clothing. Sun exposure within this time period will lead to the re-activation of the photosensitizing agent. Starting within 48 hours of your treatment, your skin may become flushed, like you have a minor sunburn. Your skin may also appear dry and you may notice some peeling start to occur. This is a normal part of the healing process. Over the next week following your treatment, the damaged cells targeted by the treatment will flake off to reveal new, healthy skin that looks better than ever.
The number of Photodynamic Therapy sessions recommended may vary based on an individual’s needs. An average treatment series requires two sessions spaced 6 weeks apart for the best results.