At Family Dermatology of North Florida, we are proud to offer Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) to our patients for various skin conditions including Actinic Keratoses and several forms of skin cancer.

What is PDT?
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a medical treatment that uses photosensitized agents and certain wavelengths of light energy to treat various forms of cancer and other skin conditions such as acne.

There are some limitations to PDT as light can only penetrate 1/3 of an inch of tissue meaning, this treatment may not be appropriate for conditions that are not on the surface or deep within the body. However, we can use it to treat cancerous cells on the surface of internal organ lining or the lining of cavities within the body.

Photosensitizing agents are chemicals or drugs administered to the body through topical, oral, or intravenous (IV) methods.

The agents are absorbed by cells, though normal cells will dispose of the agent within a few hours, the agents will remain in cancerous or precancerous tissues. It may take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for the agent to be distributed properly throughout the body.

Light is then applied to the cells at a specific wavelength, activating the photosensitizers to produce oxygen that is toxic to the targeted cells causing them to die.

PDT is typically performed as an outpatient procedure meaning you can return home after treatment. As mentioned previously, PDT can target cells on the surface of your skin or the lining of internal organs and cavities. For areas outside of the body, no anesthesia is required. If we are treating you internally with PDT, we may use anesthesia to avoid any patient discomfort during the procedure.

It can be repeated if necessary and combined with other forms of treatment such as surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

Are there any side effects?
The treated area may become sensitive to light following treatment. As such, it is important that patients take proper precautions to protect their skin and avoid sunlight or bright lighting.

Some other common side effects include swelling, pain, itching, and redness around or on the treated area.

For more information on photodynamic therapy or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today at (850) 402-9444.