Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

What is Photodynamic Therapy Treatment?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a technique for treating skin cancers and sun-damaged skin, which could turn cancerous if left untreated.

Photodynamic treatment involves the use of photochemical reactions created through the interaction of photosensitizing agents (which by itself is harmless), light, and oxygen for the treatment of malignant or benign skin diseases.
This interaction causes changes in the sun-damaged skin cell, which leads to cell death. The area of skin exposed to the light source will be affected and inflamed. Once the inflammation clears, normal cells recover where as damaged cells do not.
At Cancer Centre London we use Metvix cream as the photosensitizing agent and the Aktilite Red light as the light source. Our treatment equipment is supplied and supported by Galderma.

Which skin conditions are treated with Photodynamic Therapy?

PDT can be used to treat various skin conditions including:

  • Superficial or ‘thin’ Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Bowen’s Disease – a pre-cancer to Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Aktinic (Solar) Keratosis – early sun-damage, a pre-cancer

If a biopsy has been done and it has indicated one of the above conditions you could be referred for Photodynamic therapy.


PDT is an outpatient procedure, and will be performed by a radiographer who specialises in treating skin conditions. Depending on the diagnosis two PDT treatments will be administered exactly one week apart.
The treatment itself is a two step procedure and it takes several hours to complete. Full details will be provided in advance of your treatment.