Blue Light Therapy for Cancer Prevention
Desjarlais Dermatology has a full suite of skin cancer treatments and prevention. One preventative option we provide to combat pre-cancerous lesions, like actinic keratosis (AK), is the blue light treatment (photodynamic therapy), done right here in our office.
How Does the Treatment Work?
Blue light therapy treatment is a non-invasive process. A chemical solution, called Ameluz is applied to the affected area. The reaction from the product, oxygen and the blue light then destroys the precancerous cells, preventing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and the need for surgeries or more invasive treatments in the future. The timeframe of the treatment depends on the area needing to be treated. The can take anywhere from 15-90 minutes long.
What to Expect After Treatment?
The treatment is very comfortable and essentially painless. The treated area will heal in about one week, leaving a dryness and a mild sunburn on the lesion. Patients are advised to stay out of the sun and keep it protected for 24-48 hours.
Are There Risks from Blue Light Therapy?
Blue light therapy is safe and has few side effects. The largest risk associated with the treatment is the temporary increased sensitivity to sunlight and sunburn for the first 48 hours. Because Ameluz is light-sensitizing, it’s important to wear sunscreen and protective clothing in addition to avoiding direct exposure to the sun for 48 hours.
Benefits of Blue Light Therapy
In addition to being painless and having minimal side effects, other benefits of the blue light treatment include:
- Handled on an outpatient basis
- Provides cumulative results over multiple sessions
- Heals rapidly
- Most insurance cover this treatment
While Blue light therapy is an effective treatment, there is a chance for continued periodic treatments for those with actinic keratosis, depending on the severity of sun damage and one’s inability to avoid the sun. It’s always important to continue follow up appointments to monitor the need for further treatments. When left untreated, AK’s can potentially develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer.
To find out if you’re a candidate for Blue light therapy treatments, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.