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Which Skin Cancers Can Be Treated with Noninvasive Photodynamic Therapy?

When many people think of cancer treatment, they envision chemotherapy and radiation, which although often effective, can be a challenging process to undergo physically. The good news is for some kinds of skin cancer, there is another option — photodynamic therapy.

Dr. Carmelo Plateroti and our skilled staff at Plateroti Dermatology in Templeton, California, combine 30 years of experience with cutting-edge treatments to assist you with all your dermatologic and aesthetic care needs. We use an integrative approach that employs Western medicine and holistic treatments to address medical issues like skin cancer and acne and help you meet your aesthetic goals using Botox®, platelet-rich plasma, dermal fillers, and more. One example of our innovative treatments is photodynamic therapy.

Photodynamic therapy

Photodynamic therapy is a noninvasive, two-part treatment that uses both a medication known as a photosensitizer and light energy to kill cancerous and precancerous cells. It can also treat some other medical issues. The drug is nontoxic until it is activated by a certain wavelength of light energy to destroy the cancer cells.

Skin cancer

There are several different kinds of skin cancer. Photodynamic therapy can treat basal cell cancer, the most common type, and Bowen's disease, which is an early kind of squamous cell carcinoma. 

Basal cell cancer forms in the top layer of the skin and often appears as a red area, open sore, pink growth, or scar with edges that are slightly elevated. Bowen's disease strikes the squamous cells in the outermost layer of the skin and is typically a scaly, red patch.


Treatment with photodynamic therapy begins with a cleansing of the area followed by the application of the photosensitive medication. After enough time has passed that the drug has been absorbed, the bright light will be shone on the area at a specially designated wavelength to destroy the skin cancer cells. This treatment encourages the production of new collagen and elastin to aid in the healing process and gives the skin a softer, smoother look.


Photodynamic therapy has a number of benefits, including being noninvasive and resulting in no long-term side effects. The procedure is able to target a precise location and leaves little to no scarring. It is generally quick, can be done on an outpatient basis, and allows for the resuming of daily activities right away. It can also be repeated multiple times as needed.

If you have a suspicious area on your skin or have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma or Bowen's disease, call us today at 805-434-2526 to make an appointment, and find out if photodynamic therapy is right for you.

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