Medicine practice and services have advanced way beyond what we are used to a few years back. Some of these new practices are streamlined toward treating cancer. Over the years, researchers have come up with different cancer treatments, and one such treatment is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).
PDT is a medical procedure used in treating cancer. It uses chemicals known as photosensitizers together with light to treat cancer and other related conditions. Photosensitizers are chemicals that become activated upon exposure to sunlight.
These photosensitizers coupled with a light source are used in treating cancer. Many hospitals offer Photodynamic therapy in California, and the photosensitizer used is recommended by your health care provider.
The medication can be administered intravenously, through pills, or directly through the skin, depending on the target area in the body. The photosensitizers are concentrated on cancer or unhealthy cells sensitive to certain light wavelengths.
These cancer cells are killed when they come in contact with light. The light causes the photosensitizer to create oxygen toxic to the targeted cells. PDT is sometimes referred to as photochemotherapy due to its use in treating cancer cells, although cancer is not the only condition.
Process of Using Photodynamic Therapy
PDT can be performed without being admitted to the hospital. The procedure is simple and doesn’t always require anesthesia unless the target area is inside the body. Patients that usually undergo PDT procedures stay awake during the process.
Photodynamic therapy procedure can be done in the following steps
- Your physician will administer a photosensitizer agent into your bloodstream and target area. Examples of photosensitizer agents include porfimer sodium, Aminolevulinic acid.
- After 2-3days, you will return to your physician. This period is known as drug-to-light
- Your physician will then shine appropriate light on the target area. This causes the photosensitizer agent to create oxygen toxic to the target cell. You may need to return after several days for a checkup.
Although PDT is useful and effective in unhealthy cells, it is not the only method used. Another effective method is administering a high dose of vitamin C, although this is still under study for cancer treatment. Some hospital still recommends treatment using a high dose of vitamin C in California.
Benefits of Photodynamic Therapy
Here are some of the benefits of Photodynamic therapy
No long-term side effects
PDT only causes temporary sensitivity to light which disappears after a short time. Although after the therapy, patients may be insensitive to light, including natural and some indoor lights, for a while.
Most people opt for minimally invasive procedures, and PDT is one of them. It doesn’t even require anesthesia, and patients are usually aware when the photosensitizer agent is administered.
It can be repeated many times.
Unlike potentially dangerous radiation therapy. PDT can be administered to the target site many times if needed. This is due to the few side effects or risks it poses to the user.