Photodynamic therapy refers to a procedure of cancer treatment where chemicals known as photosensitizers are used along with light to treat the affected area. Photosensitizers can kill the surrounding cells when they come in contact with specific light wavelengths. Toxic oxygen species are created because of their combination that kills the targeted cancer cells. It treats the below-mentioned diseases:
- Small-cell lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Oesophagus cancer
- Urinary tract infections
- Gum infections
- Cornea infections
Alternate Name of Photodynamic Therapy
Cancerous or infected cells
How is Photodynamic Therapy performed?
The procedure is performed in the OPD of Nanavati Max Healthcare, which does not require you to seek admission to the hospital or stay for longer hours. During each procedure, you stay awake as anaesthesia is not needed under normal circumstances. There are numerous ways to perform the procedure. The oncologist at Nanavati Max Healthcare injects a photosensitizer agent into your blood using an intravenous or a normal injection. The agent differs depending on the target area or treatment specificities.
- Porfimer sodium: This is the most common photosensitizer that affects cancer cells via red rays. Lungs and oesophagus cancers are treated using this agent.
- Methyl ester of aminolevulinic acid (ALA): The ALA photosensitizer helps kill malignant cells on your scalp or facial region. Red light is a medium for its transmission.
- ALA: ALA treats facial regions and scalp but with blue light as a medium.
You have to revisit the doctor after an interval for the procedural recurrence.
Once the agents are applied to the affected area, your oncologist will shed the laser light for creating toxic oxygen species. These oxygen species will kill the cancer cells.
Preparation for Photodynamic Therapy
- Beginning: The preparation begins when you visit Max Healthcare, a hospital for getting light-sensitive medicine.
- Medicine type: The medicine might be a cream, a drink, or an injection, depending on the area requiring treatment.
- The final stage after administering light-sensitive medicine: Once you consume the medicine, the oncologist will direct you to go home for a few hours or days to allow the medicine to create abnormal cells for follow-up treatment.
Provided your skin gets treatment, it will remain covered for a day. Defer from knocking or scratching the treated area, and always keep it dry. Once the bandage gets removed, you can bathe normally, needing to pat dry after a wash. Your oncologist at Nanavati Max Healthcare will give you a specific follow-up appointment or procedure date.
After the treatment, do not expose your body to sunlight or bright lights indoors. Please do not go to places, including beaches, that reflect sunlight as it affects the treated area. Wear sunglasses and a hat to guard your facial and neck region. Covering the area with a sterilized cloth is an ideal solution in such cases.
Risks For Photodynamic Therapy
The procedure might induce the following risks and side effects:
- An allergic reaction: you might develop blisters, rashes, or redness after the procedure if you are allergic to any photosensitizer.
- Sensitivity: You might experience skin sensitivity for 6 weeks after the treatment.
- Hair loss: Provided the rays treat your scalp, you might experience hair loss.
- Coughing blood: Esophagus treatment might cause coughing out blood or trouble swallowing food.
Recovery From Photodynamic Therapy
Some people heal the same day without any side effects. Consequently, the recovery takes around 2-6 weeks after the procedure is performed. The recovery time allows the oncologist to decide about the next session. If any tools are used during the procedure, one may feel raw, itchy, or sore in the area where the tool was used, but it is not a major concern. There may be minor side effects upon contact with sunlight like swelling, redness, rash, or blistering. This happens because the photosynthesizing agent is on the skin or in the blood, making the patient more sensitive to light. To prevent this discomfort, avoid going out in direct sunlight, wear a hat to protect the face and neck when stepping out, and cover the affected area with clothing to block direct contact with light.
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