Skip to content

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Photodynamic Therapy

Font Size

Topic Overview

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment used for nonmelanoma skin cancer. PDT is a process of applying a medicine and then shining a special light on it. It may be used to treat skin cancers when surgery or radiation can't be used.

Medicines used in PDT for skin cancer include 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), methyl aminolevulinate (MAL), and porfirmer sodium.

Recommended Related to Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer in People of Color

As a person of color, you might question whether skin cancer ought to be one of your top health concerns. If you're African-American, you may not even think you can get  skin cancer. But you’d be surprised. "Anyone can get skin cancer," says Lisa Chipps, MD, director of dermatologic surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. It is less common in people of color, but it’s often more serious. That's because it's usually found later, when it's harder to treat. If you know what to look for and how to protect...

Read the Skin Cancer in People of Color article > >

PDT is used to treat actinic keratoses on the face and scalp, squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen's disease), and superficial basal cell carcinomas. Studies show that cure rates for skin cancers treated with PDT may be slightly lower than surgery or radiation. But PDT does not leave a scar like surgery does.1

Studies of PDT with methyl aminolevulinate (MAL) found that this treatment was as effective as cryosurgery for actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen's disease).2

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 17, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Photodynamic Therapy Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

bloodstream
Tips to help prevent clots.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
Live and thrive.
gloved hand holding syringe
10 preventable diseases.
psoriasis
How to identify that bite.
man eating meal
Folates, green tea and more.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Get relief tips.
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.