Skin Cancer Treatment
Queensland is still the skin cancer capital of the world.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a highly effective treatment used to treat superficial skin cancers and sunspots including solar keratoses (actinic keratosis) and superficial basal cell carcinomas. PDT treatment is minimally invasive with little to no scarring and the recovery rate with PDT is much quicker compared with other treatments.
Skin cancer in Australia is the most common form of cancer and early detection is vital.
If you think you may have skin cancer, please book an appointment as soon as possible. (We offer Bulk Billing for skin checks)
Book your bulk-billed skin check and complimentary consultation to establish if you are a suitable candidate for PDT.
THE COST OF PDT
Every patient has a different skin type and different degrees of skin damage, therefore pricing varies depending on the condition we are treating.
Everything you need to know
PDT is a revolutionary technique which involves applying a special photosensitising agent to the damaged skin. From here the photosensitising medication is either left to incubate in the skin for 2 – 4 hours, or activation is performed within 30 minutes. Each protocol is dependent on the type of damage and the area.
The photosensitising medication is absorbed into the abnormal and damaged cells. The area to be treated is then exposed to a light source in order to be activated. The light source can vary from IPL, LED and Direct daylight. Again this is dependent on the damage and the area being treated. The activation process causes a photochemical reaction which destroys metabolically active cells and leaves the normal cells relatively untouched.
We use two photosensitising medications depending on the damage and area we are treating. The medication is called 5-ALA, or 5- Alpha Levulinic Acid and MAL (Meth Aminolevulinic Acid).
The number of treatments required will be determined by your Doctor and tailored wherever possible to suit each patient’s needs. Our current treatment protocol is a minimum of 1 to 2 treatments approximately 6 to 12 weeks apart.
- PDT may assist you in avoiding surgical procedures to treat skin cancers, precancerous lesions plus it provides exceptional cosmetic results when treating sun damaged skin, aged skin, acne, fine lines and skin discolouration.
- PDT used on aged skin is very effective in bringing new life back in areas that have been difficult to treat eg. arms, hand and your decolletage.
- PDT usually only takes a short time and therefore is most often done as an ‘outpatient’ procedure.
- After the area heals, there is usually little or no scarring.
- It often costs less than other cancer treatments.
A full breakdown of aftercare will be explained and given to you during your consultation.
- PHOTOSENSITIVITY – After the treatment is complete the treated area will remain sensitive to light for 24 to 48 hours. It is best to avoid sun exposure and remain indoors during this period.
- SKIN RESPONSE – The skin will look red and blotchy like a sunburn for between 7 to 10 days. The initial couple of days may feel sensitive and pigmentation may become temporarily darker and then flake/peel off in the coming days. The degree of discomfort and redness can vary depending on the amount of damage in the skin.
Each can range from the size of a pinhead to 2-3 cm across. Their color can be light, dark, pink, red, the same color as your skin, or a combination of these. The top of each one may have a yellow-white, scaly crust. Redness may develop in the surrounding skin. The picture shows a solar keratosis on an ear.
Solar keratoses feel rough and dry, and are slightly raised from the surface of the skin. Often it is easier to feel rather than see them. They can also be hard and warty. Sometimes hard skin grows out of a solar keratosis like a horn (called a cutaneous horn).
Several solar keratoses may develop at about the same time, often in the same area of skin. Sometimes they can join together and form a large, flat-ish, rough area of skin.
Solar keratoses usually develop on areas of skin, which have received a lot of sun exposure. Skin on the face, neck, ears, bald patches on the scalp and the backs of the hands are commonly affected. They may also appear in other areas (such as the back, chest and legs) in people who do a lot of sunbathing. There are usually no other symptoms. Rarely, you may get an itchy or prickling sensation from affected areas of skin.
Solar keratoses are caused by damage to the skin by UV light which is part of sunlight. The skin is normally good at repairing any minor damage. But, over the years some areas of skin are unable to cope with the repeated exposure to sun and a solar keratosis can form. So, it is not a recent bout of sun-tanning that causes them but repeated minor sun damage to the skin over time.
People with fair skin who do not tan easily are most commonly affected, especially those with blue/green eyes and blonde/red hair. Because their skin has less protective pigment, these people are the most susceptible to sunburn and other forms of sun damage. Solar keratoses can occur in people with darker skin, but they are almost unheard of in black-skinned people.
Three things can happen to a solar keratosis. This is important when considering treatment:
- The solar keratosis may regress. This means it clears away on its own, without treatment.
- A solar keratosis may persist. So, it remains, doesn’t change but doesn’t disappear either.
- It might progress into a skin cancer.
The use of Botox is contraindicated in people with neuromuscular disorders such as myasthenia gravis, those who are taking certain muscle relaxants and antibodies such as aminoglycosides, pregnant or breast feeding women, those with infection or inflammation at the proposed site of injections and bleeding disorders.
Your skin will feel like a sunburn. The degree of discomfort and redness can vary greatly. A greater reaction to treatment also usually indicates a more dramatic result.
For the first day, cool compresses will help limit discomfort. Moisturizers to hydrate and soothe the skin can be used as necessary. In some cases a second episode of treatment may be required some weeks later.
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