Photodynamic Therapy









Dynamic Cancer Treatment

Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, is a treatment that uses special drugs called photosensitizing agents along with light to kill pre-cancerous cells. The drugs only work after they have been activated by certain kinds of light, most often BLU-U and or RED light.

What to Expect with Treatment

The photosensitizing agent is applied topically to the skin in the area being treated. Over a certain amount of time the drug is absorbed by the cancer cell, this is typically 45-60 minutes. Light is then applied to the area being treated, typically for 25 minutes. The light causes the drug to react with oxygen, which forms a chemical that kills the cells. PDT might also help by destroying the blood vessels that feed the cancer cells and by alerting the immune system to attack the cancer. You may feel stinging or burning once the area is exposed to the light, but it should go away within a day or so. The treated area may get red and scale and crust for up to 2 weeks before healing.

Photosensitivity Reactions

Reactions caused by light can show up on the skin where the drug is applied. They usually involve redness and a tingling or burning sensation. For about 2 days after the drug is used, you should take care to not expose treated areas to light by:

  • Staying out of strong, direct light.
  • Remaining indoors as much as possible.
  • Wearing protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats to avoid sunlight when outdoors.
  • Avoiding beaches and snow or other surfaces where strong light may be reflected.

NOTE: Sunscreens will not protect the skin from photosensitivity reactions!

The treated skin will likely be itchy, turn red and may swell after treatment. This usually peaks 1 to 3 days after treatment and gets better within a week. It should be gone about 2-4 weeks after treatment.

Contact Storwick and Associates for further treatment information at 403.286.0086.