Medical treatment with positive side effects
PDT – an innovative medical therapy
Dermatologist Dr. Matthias Müller has already been working with photodynamic therapy for several years. "PDT is a comparatively uncomplicated and gentle method to treat actinic keratosis and superficial basal cell carcinomas highly effectively. It is significantly more effective than other therapy methods. The very good cosmetic result is also an important reason prompting my patients to opt for PDT."
The treatment is very targeted and can be implemented effectively. The photosensitising gel is applied to the affected skin area and covered with a dressing. The dressing is removed after about three hours and the patient is then treated for approximately ten minutes with cold red light. An alternative during summer months is for patients to spend two to two and a half hours in the daylight, with even cloudy skies irradiating sufficient sunlight for the therapy to work. So-called Daylight PDT is significantly less painful, and the medication used with Daylight PDT is also reimbursed by statutory health insurance.
"An inflammation reaction occurs at the onset of the therapy with reddening, flaking and – very infrequently – blister formation. This generally abates within 14 days at the most. As a result, the therapy leaves skin smoother, and even rejuvenates the skin – so it meets the highest cosmetic requirements," Dr. Müller notes about the treatment method.
Treatment over a large area is possible with photodynamic therapy. This approach's advantage is that it covers and treats not only lesions themselves but also other solar damage on an extensive basis. It even completely and sustainably removes lesions undetectable to the naked eye. When presented with various therapy options, most patients opt for PDT due to its positive side-effects. And Dr. Müller knows he has made the best possible treatment available to his patients: "Photodynamic therapy with daylight forms part of the range of services offered by statutory health insurance. Private health insurers also bear the costs for treatment with the lamp."
A network of dermoto-oncologists from across the whole of Germany – "onkoderm" – has set up its own "actinic keratosis" working group. Its experts have developed a set of therapy guidelines for dermatologists treating actinic keratosis. Dermatologists generally draw a distinction between treatments addressing a wide area (field-directed) and treatments directly targeting affected areas (lesion-directed). Individual visible actinic keratoses mostly indicate that changes have occurred to further skin cells, but they're not yet visible as they're still below the skin's surface. The importance of treating the entire skin area is being increasingly emphasised as a consequence, with the recommendation to apply corresponding therapy options. Photodynamic therapy represents one of such options.