Skip to content

    Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Photodynamic Therapy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Topic Overview

    Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment used for nonmelanoma skin cancer. PDT is a process. First a medicine is applied to the skin. Then the doctor shines a special light on it. PDT 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

    What is prevention?

    Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective...

    Read the What is prevention? article > >

    PDT is used to treat actinic keratoses on the face and scalp. It's also used to treat 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 with surgery or radiation. But PDT does not leave a scar like surgery does.1

    Studies of PDT with the medicine MAL found that this treatment worked as well as cryosurgery for actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen's disease).2

    1

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    acupuncture needle on shoulder
    10 tips to look and feel good.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.