Have you just found out that you have precancerous skin lesions? This can be incredibly frightening, even though the truth is that most precancerous lesions are easy to treat and do not come back. If your doctor is suggesting phototherapy to treat these lesions here’s everything you need to know.
Phototherapy can be time-consuming. You will need to apply medication to your skin. This will attract the light and help it to kill the right cells. However, you must wait up to an hour after this is applied before the light can be used on your skin. This time allows the medication to fully soak in so that you can reap the most benefits. After that, you actually have to wait while the light is shined on your skin and the magic happens.
However, phototherapy seems to be more effective than having your lesion frozen off. In fact, one study showed that those who underwent phototherapy were 14% more likely to have their legion completely cleared away after 3 months. If you really want to nip your precancerous lesion in the bud, the time and expense of phototherapy may be right for you.
On that note, it’s important to know that phototherapy is incredibly expensive. Because it’s a relatively new treatment, your insurance may not want to cover it. You may have to get it pre-approved, may have to show that another treatment has failed before they will pay for it, or you may have to talk to several people before you can assure approval for your phototherapy.
Phototherapy can also be more painful than cryotherapy. When your doctor activates the medication with the light, you will feel pain. For many people, this is a lot more painful than what people seem to experience with the freezing therapy. It may be worth it to you to have a better chance of getting rid of your precancerous lesion. However, it’s important to know that it will probably hurt and to expect that when you go to your doctor.
One other way to experience phototherapy is to apply the medication and then have patients expose themselves to sunlight. This sunlight will activate the drug in the same way that the laser or the light in the office will. This takes less time, seems to be less painful, and is definitely less expensive! However, some people do not like being in the sun, or they may decide to go inside when they realize that exposing themselves hurts.
At Dermatology Seattle we would be happy to let you know if phototherapy seems to be right for you. We will always tell you if we don’t think that a treatment will work for your skin cancer or precancerous lesions. We will also talk you through all the possible benefits and drawbacks to any treatment before we offer it to you. If we think that phototherapy might work for you, we will talk to you about it and leave the ultimate decision to you. Once you’ve decided, we would be happy to treat you in the way that you have chosen.