PDT for AK’s, Newsletter Spring/Summer 2015
Photodynamic therapy or PDT is a highly effective treatment for pre-cancerous lesions of the skin called actinic keratoses or AK’s. Actinic keratoses are scaly or crusty growths found on sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the face, ears, bald scalp and back of the hands, forearms and legs. Although the most AK’s are benign, about 20% advance to become skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma), requiring surgery. PDT is an excellent treatment option to eradicate or reduce AKs, thus helping to prevent the formation of squamous cell carcinoma.
A PDT treatment begins with the application of a clear liquid prescription medication called Levulan® Kerastick® (20% aminolevulinic acid), to the skin. Levulan® is absorbed more by pre-cancerous cells of the skin than normal cells. Once absorbed it is turned into another molecule that makes the abnormal cells sensitive to light or laser. A blue light or a laser then is used to activate the molecules, causing them to destroy or damage the abnormal cells. The entire treatment results in reduction or elimination of pre-cancerous cells, leaving the skin healthier and more radiant.
PDT is superior to other treatments for AKs for multiple reasons. First, an entire area of sun-damaged skin, like the face, chest or arms, can be treated in one sitting, as opposed to treating only individual “spots”. Secondly, the Levulan® targets both AKs we currently see or feel and ones that are unseen but will come out in the future. Lastly, PDT also provides an overall cosmetic benefit to the skin as it reduces signs of sun damage.
It is time to start repairing the sun damage your skin suffered years ago. PDT may be the treatment you need for healthier, smoother and more radiant skin.