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Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

At Swann Dermatology, we take great pride in our team offering comprehensive evaluation and management for skin cancer including cutting-edge methods of skin cancer removal.  We offer preventative services including treatment of precancerous lesions with prescriptions and photodynamic therapy and offer a wide array of cosmeceuticals and sunscreens that Dr. Swann himself has found ideal to minimize sun damage that leads to skin cancer.  

Photodynamic therapy is an in-office procedure that specifically targets precancerous actinic keratoses, also known as AKs, using a topical medicine called aminolevulinic acid (ALA) which is activated by a light source. The medicine preferentially goes into precancers, including lesions which are difficult for you or your dermatologist to see. After a period of incubation where the medicine collects in these cells, the medicine is cleansed from the surface of the skin before activation of the medicine using a visible light source. At Swann Dermatology, we can utilize blue or red light to activate the medicine. We use PDT in series as a medical treatment to remove precancers on the face, scalp and neck in patients with more than 15 precancers and a propensity for future tumor development.

This procedure is generally more tolerable and similar in efficacy to using topical chemotherapy, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) although we continue to use both methods to treat precancerous lesions and minimize future skin cancer development.