Photodynamic Therapy for Actinic Keratosis or Pre-cancers

As many as 58 million Americans have pre-cancers known as Actinic Keratosis (AK) link to that patient education section). While most AKs may be benign, around 10 percent may progress to become a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (link to that patient education section) within two years. Photodynamic Therapy or PDT for Actinic Keratosis, involves the application of a photosensitizing medication to the skin followed by exposure to a special blue light lamp called the Blu-U. This light source activates the medication and destroys the pre-cancer cells. This technique is FDA approved for the treatment of actinic keratosis (“pre-cancers”) and, in some instances, skin cancers. Treatment of skin cancers with PDT results in an improved cosmetic outcome that leaves virtually no scars since no surgery is involved. PDT not only clears pre-cancerous lesions, but may serve to prevent the occurrence of new pre-cancers and skin cancers. PDT treatments are quite versatile and applications are being expanded to include treatment of acne, rosacea, brown spots, broken capillaries, and even enlarged oil glands. The combination of skin cancer prevention and cosmetic enhancement makes PDT an ideal treatment for the right candidate.