Disadvantages of Photodynamic Therapy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 26, 2012

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Photodynamic theory is a treatment method to kill dangerous cells. By virtue of the therapy, red laser light is passed in the direction of the cells that are either cancerous or triggers of other medical problems such as acne. While the treatment may seem to give a boost to one’s self-esteem by enhancing his/her beauty or health, it comes with a price. Here are some disadvantages of photodynamic therapy.

Side-Effects of Internal Cancer Treatment

One of the major side-effects of this treatment when used in treating internal cancer includes inflammation in and around the oesophagus. Some other side-effects include:

  • constipation,
  • fever,
  • chest discomfort and
  • nausea.

These symptoms can be easily controlled with the help of pain relievers. Patients may also experience sensitivity to light even after the treatment is over and this usually lasts for over four weeks. Therefore, the patient must avoid wearing clothes that expose the skin when outdoors. They should also use low-level artificial lights indoors that are not more than 60 watts.


Side-Effects of Skin Cancer Treatment

Treatment of skin cancer with the help of photodynamic therapy leads to photosensitivity, though it doesn’t last for as many days as in photodynamic treatment of internal skin cancers. To make sure that the patient remains healthy, he/she must:

  • avoid exposure to sunlight,
  • avoid exposure to bright artificial lights and prefer low-level lights that are not more than 60 watts bright,
  • avoid washing the treated area for at least 36 hours and
  • avoid rubbing the treated area until it has healed.

Skin cancer patients, who have gone through this treatment, may experience a burning sensation during the therapy. The burning sensation may be relieved with the help of a water spray or a cooling fan, medication or local anaesthesia.


Side-Effects of Acne Treatment

Photodynamic therapy for acne treatment mandates that the patient stay away from exposure to the sun for at least 48 hours after the treatment. Generally, the clinic recommends that the procedure be done when the client can leave the clinic after the sun has set to avoid the probability of serious sunburn. The most common side-effects of photodynamic treatment for acne include 72 hours of mild redness and flaking.

Photodynamic therapy is a relatively new procedure of treating cancers and other skin problems and therefore, it is practised in only a few clinics. Before one decides to undergo this treatment, he/she must make sure that the clinic that provides the treatment is well trained in performing the therapy. The patient must also have enough knowledge about the treatment before he/she goes under the light.


Read more articles on Light Therapy.



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