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Photodynamic Therapy

Let’s talk about Metvix Photodynamic therapy. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but all it is is putting a cream on the skin, leaving it on for a few hours to let it soak in and then shining a red light onto the skin; and what its’ all about is preventing skin cancer.

logo_metvixMany people who’ve had a lot of sun get pre-cancerous lesions called Actinic keratoses; you may have seen them on yourself or on your grandparents. In fact they say that anybody over the age of 50 probably has at least one on their skin. These little scaly white lesions – sometimes red – they come and go, kind of in a tussle with the body’s immune system; sometimes they win, sometimes the immune system wins.

Your best plan of action is to remove them. If you’ve only got one or two a bit of liquid nitrogen may be enough but if you’ve got 20 or 30 that isn’t going to do it; and the other factor in the equation is that for every actinic keratosis you can see there are usually 4 or 5 microscopic ones in the skin that you can’t see.

Now there are always options and Metvix PDT is not the only option. We also use some crèmes that can attack these pre-cancers, but in my practice I’ve found the most effective agent to be Metvix PDT.

It works because the cream is a natural chemical found in your bloodstream. It’s nothing foreign, nothing strange. We use it in high concentration and when it’s put on the skin it concentrates on the pre-cancers. When we wash off the cream three hours later, the only chemical left is sitting in the pre-cancers. When we shine the red light on to the skin it hits the cream in the pre-cancers, heats up the pre-cancers, releases something called singlet oxygen and destroys the pre-cancers – both the ones you can see and the microscopic ones you can’t see.

Most people are red and scaly for about 5-10 days afterwards but it’s a very predictable process and we have done hundreds of cases. We are the first to offer PDT (PhotoDynamic Therapy) on Vancouver Island.

I’ve never seen anyone scar from PDT; you can’t say that for any other treatment used in treating skin cancer or preventing skin cancer. And not only is Metvix approved in Canada for treating pre-cancer it’s also approved for treating certain types of superficial skin cancer such as superficial basal cell and I’ve had fabulous results. I’ve seen lesions melt away without any scarring other treatment process would’ve scarred the patient for sure.

If you’ve had skin cancer or think you might have skin cancer, get checked out because you might be a candidate for Metvix.