Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising non-surgical technique that involves the systemic or topical application of a photosensitising drug that is preferentially retained in tumours, and with exposure to light of the correct wavelength, results in selective destruction of cancerous cells.
Initial studies with PDT show good cure rates and excellent cosmetic results for superficial tumours.
Cure rates in the lesion treated appear to be higher than with cryotherapy for superficial basal cell carcinomas, and give a better cosmetic result. Cure rates compared with surgery seem to be lower but again PDT gives better cosmetic results. It may become applicable in certain cases of Gorlin Syndrome, but not in children.
Some individuals find PDT uncomfortable or even painful.
Ref: Telfer NR, Colver GB and Morton CA. Guidelines for the management of basal cell carcinoma. Br Journal of Dermatology 2008, 159 35 – 48
Further information about PDT can be accessed cortesy of British Association of Dermatologists.
Next Review January 2016