Where possible, our specialists prefer non invasive skin cancer treatment, which does not involve cutting the skin. Surgical techniques are well developed but better to avoid any risk of scarring, or discomfort.
Use of photodynamic therapy in our London clinics has proven remarkably effective. Especially for treating less invasive forms of skin cancer, such as basal cell cancers, Bowen’s disease, or actinic keratosis.
A Well Proven Procedure
As with all the support we offer patients, a thorough consultation and diagnosis will have taken place before treatment. We only use photodynamic therapy for conditions where this is known to be successful.
A photosensitising agent will be applied to your skin, as a cream, or by injection if this is not practical. Over two, or three hours, the agent will be selectively absorbed by pre cancerous and cancerous cells, due to their higher metabolism.
Oxygen and the photosensitising agent react, to build substances toxic to the cancer cells when exposed to light. A special red light, similar to a diffused laser, is then focused on the key areas for 8 to 10 minutes.
This high wavelength light penetrates the skin, killing the cancerous skin cells. Because the photosensitizer does not accumulate in healthy cells, the process does not damage the surrounding skin.
Advantages Of Photodynamic Therapy
Apart from targeting known cancer cells, the technique can be applied to the surrounding skin, which may appear normal. Any invisible skin cancer in this area will be picked up and destroyed.
Large areas can be treated safely, with minimal or no scarring, or side effects. Clinical results and aesthetic outcomes are well proven, there is less pain, or inflammation than with other treatment options.
PDT is ideal for people who have bleeding or other health problems, or areas prone to poor healing. Equally for sensitive areas, such as the face, or lips, or when conventional surgery is unsuitable.
The treatment can be used to treat thicker basal cell carcinomas, combined with CO2 ablation and a different type of laser. Excellent cure rates have been seen with this technique.
Care During & After Treatment
Skin cancer treatment in our London clinics using photodynamic therapy is not a dangerous procedure. In specialist hands, a similar approach can be adopted for aesthetic reasons, to rejuvenate the skin.
You might feel a slight burning but this is reduced by air cooling during treatment. Local anaesthesia can also be used, if you find treatment too uncomfortable.
The treated area will be covered for 36 to 48 hours, to keep sunlight away. Your skin may go red for a few hours, possibly peel, you should fully recover within one, or two weeks.
Although uncommon, a second cycle of treatment can then be given where needed. We will advise on long term care for your skin, arrange any follow up appointments and ensure you are happy with your treatment.