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Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Went to my Dermo the other day for my semi-annual check-up....

As you know I fish a lot, live in Florida, and I'm fair complexion...

Anyways, I usually have a spot or two that gets frozen, tops of my ears occasionally, etc...

MD recommended me having Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) which my insurance covers. It usually (from reading), takes 2 - 3 sessions. They use a type of med, one of which I beleive is 5FU. Apply it to spots or areas, let it soak in for a period of time, then expose you to a blue light.

After which you have to stay out of the sun for 24 - 48 hours, and a follow-up just after. It looks like a chemical peel almost, sking turns color, scaps up sort of, etc...

Anyways, have any of you had it done..., pros/cons... Looking for Pat to respond as well please...



CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4295
Joined: May 2012


I would recognize those blue tipped ears anywhere.

Good luck on your Photodynamic Therapy


patricke's picture
Posts: 498
Joined: Aug 2006

Hey John, it sounds like your fun in the sun is biting back a little.  I am also a S FL guy and spend a lot of time in the sun persuing a variety of outdoor activities.  I have had a few of those pre-cancer spots removed from my face too, but I have not had any experience with PDT.  After doing some research years ago into what would be the best sun protection for me while I am out playing, I found that the best dermotologist recomended protection that one can have is a lotion that has zinc or titanium in it.  Zinc and titanium physically block the UV's of all spectrums from hitting the skin.  I like Bullfrog with titanium which I've been slathering on for many years now, and have had no further occurences of pre-ca's.  I will say that I have a white tinted face while wearing it, but I just look at it as me being a trend setting fashionista in the world of sun protection lotion wear.  I will also add that all of the clothes that I wear while activiting in the sun have a/an SPF rating of 30 or above, and I rarely go out anywhere without wearing a broad brimed hat,  just trying to stay on the safe side.

 The PDT sounds interesting, and a little time consuming; does it have any advantages over the old fashioned cutting, scraping, excising which for me took one session and done?  Well, whatever treatment you choose, I hope that you are able to gitter done, and git back out on the water as soon as possible.  Best wishes.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Yooo Patrick...

I do wear protection also, not so much lotion as I should, but I have used BullFrog primarily, didn't know about the one with ZO.

I mainly wear the Columbia long sleeve shirts like you mention SPF 30. I also wear a buff a lot, and also the wide brim boony hats. Always wear shorts and have nothing show on my legs, LOL...

I'm not sure if there is any particular advantage other than being able to cover larger areas versus a spot here or there... Never told I had anything particualrly big, just curious if it's a money generator.

Speaking of lotions though, they told me I needed to get one of these two below for the 24-48 hours after... I'm sure they would be something to try like the Bull Frog;

Coppertone Sensitive Skin SPF50

Coopertone Water Babies Pure and Simple SPF50


hawk711's picture
Posts: 566
Joined: Jan 2010


Every time I see a picture of you, I can't help but think to myself, "what a photodynamic guy".  That treatment fits your personality for sure.  I have had spots removed without much issue as you have.  But, new things come down all the time, so go for the "blue light special" and get 'r done.

I'll PM you sometime soon on my necrosis, ORN, issues.  Going well at this time.


alligatorpointer's picture
Posts: 131
Joined: Jul 2012

My husband who also has fair (Irish) complexion, does not fish and tends to be an indoors kinda guy, is prone to skin cancers for which he has to be monitored and routinely zapped.  He had the PDT therapy on his face and head a couple of years ago.  He had a series of two blue light treatments with a short wait in between.  I cannot remember all the details.  What I do remember is that it causes a sunburn-like effect which goes away after about a week.  It also results in younger-looking skin.  I am kind of envious because he now has younger looking skin on his face than I have on mine.  I tan easily and am not prone to skin cancer but the sun does take its toll in terms of aging the skin.  Those blue light treatments are expensive if paid for out-of-pocket for cosmetic purposes so I am not able to have it done.  Insurance will cover if skin cancer is the dx.  You will look mahvelous dahling. Cool

donfoo's picture
Posts: 1644
Joined: Dec 2012


If fishing is causing you skin cancer just stop fishing. Then again I heard that 5fu stuff is quite wonderful, makes you feel good all over. lol

Seriously, just weigh the advantage of the new treatment over the inconvenience of your current therapy which seems to work now and over the long term.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Are you serious, LOL... No soup for you...

I don't have skin cancer..., I occasionally will get a "pre-cancerous" spot.. They freeze them (liquid nitrogen usually), slice them, etc.... This is more like a chemical peel... As mentioned by my fishing bud above.. I had to make sure my insurance would cover it, as some consider it more a cosmetic procedure, than a maintenance procedure (preventitive).

My current procedure, mentioned above is old school... Which works great for a spot here or there.. This is for a more complete and larger area treatment I believe, and more lasting.


fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1216
Joined: Jan 2013

I've had several pre cancerous growths removed by the freeze and slice method. My GP keeps an eye on them. I've not heard of PDT until you brought it up. Interesting for sure. 


Duggie88's picture
Posts: 703
Joined: Feb 2010

I saw your presure rise with Don's comment.

I never had anything like your talking about, I just came in to stir the pot.

Enjoy the day


longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

If you are one of those fair-skinned, age-group appropriate, multiple basal cell cancer forming dudes (sound about right?), this plan is a good one.  It will save you a whole bunch of office visits/interventions over the next thirty years.  Here's a good article:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503644/


There are several different photoactivating agents that are used.  5FU cream (effudex) is not one of those.  Effudex does have application in treating some of these conditions, but is used by itself, not as a photoactivating agent.  The people who most often get into this situation are farmers.  Man, those guys, ages fifty and over, are what make the dermatology offices profitable:)

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Just the input and info I was seeking...

I know I mentioned 5FU, but as you say, there are many different agents, not sure which she plans on using. I just heard 5FU and that rang a bell instantly, LOL...


longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

There are two skin cancers that are sun dependent.  Basal cell, which can result in a lot of interventions, but is rarely fatal.  And melenoma, which is a bad actor.  SCC of skin is not sun dependent, and is not something to be trifled with either.  Given a choice, I'd keep on fishing.  Sort this other stuff out any way that makes sense to you.  BTW a T shirt has an SPF of 30, so you still get plenty of solar wearing only that in the sun.

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

John, I bought the coppertone your derm suggested and it stained all my clothes. If you do not mind wearing stained clothes buy the coppertone. I went online to their website and found numerous complaints about the staining. Jim has had basil cells removed every year (all on his arms) and I still can't get him to wear sun screen.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Thanks for the info....

You mean Jim actually wears clothes while fishing..., hmmm I knew there must be some reason I'm getting so many weird looks, and so much sun damage..., LOL.


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