A two-step procedure is used in photodynamic therapy treatment. To begin, you will be given a photosensitizer. Depending on where the tumor is located in the body, the medication can be taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or administered through an IV. The majority of the medication will have left normal cells within 24 to 72 hours but will remain in cancer or precancer cells. The light source will then be directed at your tumor.
The way the light is administered is determined by the location of the tumor. The light is directed directly towards the malignancy in the case of skin malignancies. An endoscope will be inserted into your neck to look for tumors in the throat, airways, or lungs. An endoscope is a narrow, illuminated tube that allows a doctor to look within the patient’s body. Once the endoscope is in place, the doctor inserts a fiber optic cable through it to reach the treatment regions, which sends light.
Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) is a form of photodynamic treatment used to treat aberrant white blood cells that might cause skin complaints in patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. ECP is a procedure in which a machine takes your blood cells, treats them with a photosensitizer, exposes them to light, and then returns them to your body via a vein needle.
Most people undergo photodynamic therapy as an outpatient procedure, which means they go home following treatment and do not have to stay in the hospital overnight. Photodynamic therapy can be used alone or in combination with other cancer therapies.