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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a method of treating sun damage and certain types of skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions, as well as augmenting the effect of some other light-based treatments.  The treatment makes the skin temporarily and selectively more sensitive to light with “active” lesions such as cancerous, pre-cancerous and inflammatory lesions being more sensitive than normal cells.

How is it done?

PDT can be done in one of two ways.

The more-comfortable way is “ambient light PDT”. Once the skin is prepared, the patient will go outside for 2 hours. There is enough light in Australia, even in the shade, to activate the treatment. After this 2 hours, the patient washes the treatment area.

The second way is for the skin to be prepared for 1-2 hours in the Centre and then a red LED light is applied to the area for 20 minutes. This light is much more intense, and the treatment can be quite painful, despite chilled air blowers and anaesthesia being used. This is usually now reserved for small or difficult-to-reach areas.

What else should I know?

PDT does not help all types of skin cancer (eg. melanoma), so it does not replace all other forms of therapy such as excision. It is very useful for actinic/solar keratoses and many forms of basal cell carcinoma, and can treat large areas of sun damage where it is sometimes difficult to see where one lesion starts and another finishes. It can also be useful in treating lesions before they become visible to the naked eye.

Consider planning your PDT treatment for a time when you have up to 1 week to recover, with the first 48 hours advised to be indoors with minimal bright light exposure, this includes TV and computer screens

What to expect during a consultation

  1. Consultations are personal and confidential.
  2. Depending on the treatment you are interested in we will ask you some questions to ensure that you are safe to proceed
  3. We discuss your areas of concern with you and advise you of the most appropriate treatments for you
  4. Our fully qualified staff will answer all of your questions and arrange with you, your personalised treatment plan
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