photodynamic therapy traditional & daylight PDT for sunspots, skin cancer
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Photodynamic therapy


Traditional Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a form of light treatment for areas of solar keratosis (sunspots) and low risk superficial skin cancers (superficial basal cell carcinoma and intraepidermal carcinoma / bowens)

The treatment takes place in the clinic and requires one session for sunspots and two sessions for skin cancers.

Advantages include minimal downtime and better cosmetic outcome.

note : PDT  treatment does not have as good a clearance rate as surgery for skin cancer.  Monitoring of PDT treatment sites for recurrence over time is recommended.



The treatment region is prepared by light scraping with a curette.

A topical light sensitizing cream is applied to the treatment areas and absorbs into the skin over a period of 3 hours. Abnormal cells absorb more of the medicated cream.

Using an Aktilite lamp the cream is activated with a specific wavelength of light  producing a photochemical reaction that preferentially damages and destroys the skin cancer / sunspots. Lamp activation takes 7-10 minutes.

The treatment can be irritating to the skin, but a cold fan is used to minimize this.

Afterwards a good moisturizer is required with PDT as the skin can dry. Slight irritation can persist like gravel rash but this is self-limiting and usually subsides after a day or two.


Daylight Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is approved to treat sunspots on the face and scalp

Daylight PDT has been investigated and compared to traditional PDT for treatment of sunspots. The clearance rates for daylight PDT are almost identical to traditional PDT. Daylight PDT is a much more comfortable treatment than traditional PDT.

The advantage of Daylight PDT is that a single application can treat the entire face without the significant downtime seen in other treatments.

For large areas of sun damage this treatment can be used first and then other treatments eg efudix or picato or cryotherapy can then be used to treat the remaining areas.



A photosensitising cream (Metvix) is applied to the scalp , face or both.

Within 20 minutes of cream application the patient is exposed to daylight staying outside for 2 hours.

Daylight PDT is completed onsite at our Stafford Clinic by our Dermatology Nurses.