Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!
Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!

Light Therapy for pre-cancerous lesions

Although most don’t want to talk about, or have to deal with the realities of skin cancer, there are things we can do to help prevent or eliminate certain skin cancers from forming. Almost all lighter skin people will have to deal with what dermatologist call pre-cancerous lesions, or scientifically termed Actinic Keratosis (AK’s) at some point in their lives.  Today, we want to share with you one of our top recommended treatments for these types of lesions called Blue Light or Photodynamic (PDT) Light Therapy.

To start off, what exactly is a pre-cancerous lesion?  An AK is a small red spot, typically described as a pink scaly patch that has the potential to turn into a squamous cell skin cancer.  The good news is, not all turn into any kind of cancer.  The bad news is, there’s no way for us to determine which one’s will and won’t turn into anything.  That’s what you have us for!  If you’ve been in to see us for your recommended yearly skin check, then your WDC provider may have mentioned the need for treatment.

What are my treatment options? Things like topical creams and freezing the spots of concern are all common and successful treatments for individual spots, but if you are plagued with a number of these AK’s on your face, scalp, arms, or legs then Blue Light Therapy may be the best treatment option for you.

How it works: Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) treatment is unique because it uses a light activated drug therapy to destroy AKs. A Levulan Kerastick Topical Solution is applied to the AK. The solution is then allowed to “marinate” or be absorbed by the AK cells over a period of time (1-3 hours depending on treatment location) where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the BLU-U Blue Light Illuminator, a reaction occurs which destroys the AK cells.   One the most important things to remember is patients should avoid exposure of the treatment sites to sunlight or bright indoor light for at least 40 hours after application of Levulan Kerastick. Exposure may result in a stinging and/or burning sensation and may cause erythema or edema of the lesions.

Why this is a WDC preferred option:

  • No prescription to fill
  • No daily medication to remember
  • Treatment is administered by a qualified healthcare professional
  • The 2-part, 2 office visit treatment is completed in less than 24 hours
  • Low downtime*- you may experience redness, itching, and mild peeling after the treatment.
  • No scarring reported to date

Your WDC provider can determine if you are a candidate for the Blue light treatment and most insurance carriers have determined that it is an approved form of treatment for pre-cancerous lesions.  Ask your provider today if you may benefit from a Blue Light Treatment.  Don’t wait…be proactive with your health!