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Friday 28th October 2016

Laser treatment for skin tumours

28th November 2006

04092006_sunbed1.jpgA newly developed treatment for skin cancer is providing new hope to sufferers.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), removes skin tumours without the need for an anaesthetic or even a hospital stay.

The treatment has recently been approved by NICE in the treatment of non-melanoma skin tumours, although experts say it is still very early days in terms of ongoing research.

The therapy uses a drug, in a cream form, which is only activated by a laser to produce a form of oxygen that destroys the cancerous tissue.

A narrow beam of light is shone onto the tumour, activating the drug and killing the malignant cells. Treatment takes only a few minutes and the patient should feel nothing more than a tingle and be able to go home immediately after treatment.

The PDT research centre at the National Medical Laser Centre in University College Hospital, London (UCH), is looking at other ways the therapy could be used, which has included people with mouth and neck cancers, as well as researching its effectiveness against prostate cancer.

The light-activated drug can be injected into the body several days before treatment but patients must avoid bright light to avoid the drug becoming accidentally activated.

Unlike chemotherapy, PDT appears to have few side effects, and any surrounding healthy tissue is unaffected.

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