Photodynamic Therapy to Remove Basal Cell Carcinoma?

I have recently been diagnosed with nodular Basal cell carcinoma on my chest, 6 spots. I have had other basal removed and don't want anymore surgery. Is Photodynamic therapy a possible alternative?

Doctor Answers 3

Photodynamic Therapy can be part of a combination of nonsurgical therapy for superficial basal cell carcinoma

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European dermatologists have far more experience using Photodynamic therapy (PDT) to treat basal cell carcinomas than American counterparts. Most of the clinical experience is based on Metvixia rather than Levulan. PDT can serve as a part of sequential nonsurgical therapies for treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma, e.g. imiquimod. However, the only sure way of complete eradication of basal carcioma is via confirmation of clear margins through pathology of excised specimen.

Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Photodynamic therapy not a great choice for nodular BCC

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Ruth2009, Studies show that for nodular BCC and for tumors greater than 1 cm, photodynamic therapy efficacy significantly decreases.  If you are really opposed to surgery, you may want to consider scraping and burning the area which is a procedure that lasts a few minutes (though the scar is usually not that cosmetically pleasing). Otherwise, consider reducing the size of the lesion with topical chemotherapy like imiquimod and then removing it surgically (which will give a smaller scar).  Good luck! - Dr. Mariwalla

Kavita Mariwalla, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Photodynamic therapy for basal cell cancer

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Photodynamic therapy has been used for various cancerous and precancerous lesions. It would be more preferable for a superficial basal cell cancer rather than the nodular type you describe, although if the top of the lesion is shave off with a blade, then it can probably be finished off with photodynamic therapy or even a cream (e.g. imiquimod).

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.