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The Dynamics of Photodynamic Therapy

Sunday, September 15th, 2013


We have discussed photodynamic therapy briefly on the website, and we have received a notable reaction from patients wanting to know more about this procedure and how it can be used in cancer therapy. And in answer to all of your questions about the procedure, we have put together a concise reference for how this revolutionary technique is taking on the battle against cancer.

  1. A photosensitizing agent will be injected directly into the patient’s blood stream. This will be chemically absorbed by cells throughout the body but will essentially stick to cancer cells longer than it does to normal cells
  2. A waiting period of about 24-72 hours will be implemented to ensure that the agent was sufficiently assimilated by the patient’s healthy cells. It will, however, still linger in the cancer cells
  3. The tumor will be exposed to a specialized light designed specifically for photodynamic therapy. Typically, laser lights are used for internal tumors, and LED lights for surface tumors. This light exposure initiates the following processes that have been found to affect the tumor in different ways:
    1. As the photosensitizing agent inside the tumor absorbs the light, it will begin to produce activated oxygen that has been found to be able to directly destroy surrounding cancer cells
    2. The blood vessels inside the tumor are damaged by the therapy, depriving it of its nutritional source
    3. The therapy indirectly activates the patient’s immune system, prompting it to attack the cancer cells
  4. Photodynamic therapy is generally an outpatient procedure but will most likely need follow up sessions to fully eradicate the cancer cells

If you want to know more about photodynamic therapy, or have other questions that you would like answered, please feel free to call Dr. Kathleen Behr at 559-435-SKIN (7546) or visit our clinic at 1125 E. Spruce Ave. Suite 207 Fresno, CA 93720 for a personal consultation.

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