Skin Cancer diagnosis and management
Dr Naidoo has a special interest in skin cancer diagnosis and management. Early diagnosis of skin cancer is essential for favourable outcomes.
Treatment options include:
- Topical prescription medications (imiquimod and fluorouracil)
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
PDT is a non-surgical and non-scarring treatment for removal of skin cancer and solar keratosis (precancerous lesions)
Indications for PDT:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Bowen's disease
- Solar keratoses
Solar Keratosis is usually red and scaly and occurs mainly in sun exposed areas. i.e. the face, the head (in balding men), the forearms and hands
They can be recurrent or disappear spontaneously.
They are significant because 10% -25% may progress to squamous cell cancer.
BCC’s are found mainly on the head and neck area and Bowen’s are usually found on the arms and legs.
The most common treatment for Solar Keratosis is Liquid Nitrogen (freezing), which has a high risk of scarring and often requires multiple treatments.
Topical prescription medications for self-application need to be applied from 2-6 weeks depending on the lesion treated, and their success depends on patient compliance.
PDT is an effective, non-scarring treatment that can be used to treat small and large areas of solar keratoses often in a single session.
Superficial BCC’s will require two treatments 1 week apart.
Bowen's require 3 treatments at 1, 2 and 6 weeks.
What to expect during Photodynamic therapy
Photodynamic therapy is a two-step process involving the application of a topical photo-sensitizer to the lesion, followed by activation with an appropriate light source. Exposure to the light in the presence of oxygen generates reactive oxygen species, which damage cellular membranes, leading to selective cell death. Healthy surrounding tissue which has not accumulated the photo-sensitizer is left undamaged. The healing process lasts one to two weeks.