By Consultant Dermatologist, Bav Shergill
Cream based treatments such as Efudix, Picato and Aldara are applied to an area of sun-damaged skin. These drugs work in different ways but the end result is an excellent cure rate with the skin looking back to normal in the majority of cases.
The downsides are that the skin is very red and sometimes scabbed during the treatment protocol and for a few weeks afterwards. We can find a strategy that works for you and fit it into your calendar.
Treatment involves applying a cream-based sensitiser to the skin where the cancer is situated. The skin is covered and left for about three hours. In this time, cancerous cells take up the sensitiser, but healthy cells do not. A 630nm wavelength light is then shone onto the skin, which destroys any cells that have taken up the sensitiser (the cancerous cells). The skin can be reddened and sensitive afterwards, but it usually recovers within 1-2 weeks.
The advantages of PDT are that it treats early skin cancers that may not be apparent to the naked eye. There is virtually no scarring and the skin can appear rejuvenated and blemish free afterwards.