Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a cancer treatment that combines specific medicines, referred to as photosensitizing agents, and light to destroy cancer cells. The medicines are only effective when activated or “turned on” by specific wavelengths of light.
The photosensitizing chemical is injected into the bloodstream via a vein or applied to the skin, depending on the area of the body being treated. The medication is absorbed by cancer cells over a period of time.
The area to be treated is then illuminated. The light causes the medication to react, forming a unique oxygen molecule that is lethal to cancer cells. PDT potentially aids in the treatment of cancer by damaging the blood vessels that supply the cancer cells and signaling the immune system to fight the disease.
The time period between the administration of the drug and the application of the light is referred to as the drug-to-light interval. It might range from a couple of hours to a couple of days, depending on the medication taken.
PDT utilizes light emitted by specific types of lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). At Buckeye Dermatology, we use blue and red wavelengths depending on the type of cancer and the tumor’s location in the body.
PDT is often performed as an outpatient treatment (you will not be admitted to the hospital), although it is occasionally coupled with surgery, chemotherapy, other anticancer medications, or radiation therapy.
Blue Light Therapy
Blue light therapy’s most often utilized application is to cure sun damage and premalignant or malignant skin cancer growths. It effectively prevents skin cancer and removes precancerous and cancerous skin lesions that have not migrated to other parts of the body (or metastasized).
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy (RLT) is a therapeutic method that utilizes red low-level wavelengths of light to treat various skin problems, including wrinkles, scars, and chronic wounds.
Red light may work by inducing a metabolic reaction in cells that enhances the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the cell’s powerhouse – they generate the cell’s energy. ATP is the energy-carrying chemical found in all living organisms’ cells (adenosine triphosphate).
A cell can produce more ATP by enhancing the activity of the mitochondria via RLT. Cells can work more efficiently, renew themselves, and repair damage with increased energy.
Red Light and Blue Light Safety
Because red and blue light therapies do not cause harm to the skin’s surface, they are distinct from laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies. Laser and pulsed light treatments operate by inducing controlled damage to the skin’s outer layer, which results in tissue healing. Red and blue light therapies avoid controlled damage by immediately promoting skin renewal. The light emitted penetrates just a few millimeters into the surface of the skin.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) can be used to treat various skin conditions, including skin cancer and psoriasis, precancerous growths (Actinic keratosis), warts caused by viruses, and acne. Contact us to learn more about how we can address your dermatological issues with PDT!