Treat white skin cancer with daylight?
Unfortunately, white skin cancer is on the rise. It can now be cured with daylight. Sounds rather paradoxical: Sitting in the beer garden and fighting precursors of light skin cancer, as well as treating superficial white skin cancer? There is actually a method with which this works. It is called Daylight-PDT and is an innovation from the field of photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Skin cancer is insidious and unfortunately on the rise. Light skin cancer in particular has become something of a widespread disease. “Every fifth German develops skin cancer in the course of his life,” explains dermatologist Dr. Alexander Just from the skinmed clinic in Lenzburg. That is why regular preventive care is so important and, in the event of a diagnosis, then the right therapy.
The main cause of the nasty growth in the cells is UV light. It damages the DNA, whereupon the cells do not die, but can degenerate and develop black skin cancer (melanoma) or light skin cancer. And now daylight is supposed to help cure it? How can white skin cancer be treated?
For some time now, skin cancer has been treated with classic photodynamic therapy in combination with a special cream containing ALA and high-energy infrared light. The mechanism of action behind it: Light-damaged cells are loaded with the biological substance in the cream and then irradiated with incoherent red light from the visible spectrum, causing them to die. The healthy cells remain unaffected. The problem with conventional therapy is the cream’s long exposure time of three hours. “During this time, the ALA substance diffuses not only into the cells, but also back out of them and then enters the nerve endings. This causes pain during the subsequent irradiation, explains Dr. Just.
Treating white skin cancer with Daylight PDT
This drawback has led to the development of daylight PDT. “Now the light-sensitizing ALA cream can take effect immediately after application and the red component of the sunlight is sufficient for the elimination of the light-damaged skin cells,” emphasizes the dermatologist, who successfully uses Daylight-PTD in the skinmed clinic: “Compared to healthy skin cells, the substance ALA accumulates in the tumor cells namely 10 times higher. “Since the ALA substance is now already ‘used up’ when it enters the cells, it no longer reaches the nerve endings, therefore no pain occurs,” the dermatologist emphasizes.
After application, the patient only needs to stay in daylight for two hours. This is sufficient to activate the process and destroy the tumor cells in a targeted manner. The more light-intensive months from March to October with a light intensity of 250,000 lux are suitable for this.
Curing basalioma and spinalioma
After the treatment the skin feels like after a light sunburn. The redness can be concealed with make-up. For two days sunlight should be avoided and high light protection should be applied.
Daylight PDT is painless and can be repeated without damaging healthy tissue. It can be used to treat primarily actinic keratoses (precursors of white skin cancer), but also incipient superficial forms of white skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma from basal cell carcinoma and spinalioma (variant of white skin cancer). “We remove heavily keratinized actinic keratoses under local anesthesia prior to Daylight PDT and have them histologically examined,” notes Dr. Just.
The COSTS of 300 to 900 euros, depending on the amount of ALA cream used, are usually covered by private health insurance. Beautiful NEBENEFFECT: the appearance of the skin is also improved aesthetically.
Lead photo: Hernan Pauccara, Photo: Samer Daboul