Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) for Treatment of Precancerous Lesions
Traditional treatment of most skin cancers involves surgery and radiation to eliminate cancer cells. Now, a new and less invasive treatment option is available. Olansky Dermatology Associates, with two locations in Roswell and Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the few skin cancer specialists to now offer photo dynamic therapy (PDT) for the advanced treatment of precancerous lesions and other skin cancers.
Photo dynamic therapy (PDT) harnesses the power of light and combines it with special medications, called “photosensitizing agents,” to weaken and eliminate cancer cells. The drug is in the form of a cream that is rubbed into your skin throughout the area where precancerous lesions are located. After your skin has completely absorbed the drug, a special light is directed onto your skin for a brief period of time. The light activates the drugs which damage and help eliminate the cancer cells.
In fact, some studies have shown that PDT may also work to disrupt and destroy the blood vessels that nourish these skin cancer cells, and even stimulate your immune system to begin fighting against the cancer.
Skin Cancer Specialists
During testing and in actual application with skin cancer patients, PDT has demonstrated an effectiveness equal to standard surgery and radiation treatment. However, due to its minimally invasive nature, it costs much less, recovery is much faster and no long-term side effects have been detected. In addition, any scarring from PDT is smaller and may even be unnoticeable.
Dr. David Olansky, and his highly experienced team of dermatology and skin cancer specialists at Olansky Dermatology Associates, are pleased to offer this new, innovative treatment option to our patients. Photo dynamic therapy may be best suited for patients diagnosed with:
- Actinic keratosis (also called Solar Keratosis)
- Basal cell cancer
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Multiple cancers grouped in the same area
- A large, but shallow cancerous lesion
Dr. Olansky or one of his team will determine if PDT is best for your specific case. Patients with certain blood diseases cannot have PDT, as well as patients with certain nut allergies.
What Happens During a PDT Treatment?
First, photo dynamic therapy is considered an outpatient procedure and is handled here at our Olansky Dermatology Associates offices. Your appointment may take up to one hour. Your doctor may find it necessary to remove any scaly growth from the treatment area to have a clear field. The treatment area is liberally covered with a special cream containing the photosensitizing drugs. Different types of creams can be used, and some are absorbed faster than others.
Depending on your skin and how fast the cream is absorbed, your doctor may ask you to go home and return the next day for the remaining portion of your PDT treatment. During the next phase, your doctor will aim a special light onto the treatment area. This lasts for approximately 15 minutes, and you may feel a slight stinging or burning sensation. Let your doctor know if the treatment becomes unpleasant. Your doctor may also require you to wear protective goggles during this phase of treatment.
Other side effects may include:
These side effects may develop after leaving the Olansky Dermatology offices. Let your doctor know if they develop, so they can advise you on how to manage them. Any side effects should resolve within a day or two. During this time, avoid prolonged sun exposure and any skin treatments. Depending on your type of cancer and its level of development, your doctor may recommend another treatment after a few weeks.
Olansky Dermatology Associates is proud to be one of the area’s first skin cancer specialists to provide PDT treatments for our patients in Roswell and throughout the Atlanta area. For more information, or to schedule a PDT consultation with one of our skin cancer specialists, contact us or book an appointment online.