Dr Downey; Dermatologist

Photochemo Surgery

Photochemo surgery (PCS) is a new topical therapy used in the treatment of certain non-melanoma skin cancers and pre-cancerous spots. PCS has a low incidence of adverse effects and produces a good cosmetic result.,/p>

PCS is advantageous where size, site or number of lesions limits the use of conventional therapies, including standard surgical procedures. The initial visit (usually in the morning) requires the surgeon to take a small sample of the lesion to be submitted for a histology report. The area is then treated with a cream and covered with a plastic dressing. This cream contains a Porphyrin derivative, which is actively metabolised by the cancerous and pre-cancerous cells.

We ask you to return three hours later at which time a concentrated form of visible red light is applied to the area for ten minutes. The whole procedure usually encompasses two separate episodes of cream and light exposure, one week apart. Immediately a welt appears at the treatment site and care of this area usually involves a dry dressing or leaving the area uncovered. Blistering may occur especially if treatment is on the nose. For 5 - 7 days post treatment, the area may look red and sunburnt. Some swelling may be noticed at this stage. The resolution phase of healing involves some fine peeling and when this occurs it is wise to apply a non-perfumed moisturiser.