Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a medicine together with a special type of light to kill cancer cells.
Phototherapy; Photochemotherapy; Photoradiation therapy; Cancer of the esophagus-photodynamic; Esophageal cancer-photodynamic; Lung cancer-photodynamic
How Photodynamic Therapy Works
First, the doctors injects a medicine that is absorbed by cells all over the body. The drug stays in cancer cells longer than it stays in normal, healthy cells.
After 1 to 3 days, the medicine is gone from the healthy cells, but remains in the cancer cells. Then, the doctor directs light at the cancer cells using a laser or other light source. The light triggers the medicine to produce a type of oxygen that treats cancer by:
- Killing cancer cells
- Damaging blood cells in the tumor
- Helping the body's infection-fighting system attack the tumor
The light can come from a laser or other source. The light is often applied through a thin, lighted tube that is put inside the body. Small fibers at the end of the tube direct the light at the cancer cells. PDT treats cancer in the:
Doctors use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to treat skin cancers. Medicine is placed on the skin, and the light is shone on the skin.
Another type of PDT uses a machine to collect a person's blood, which is then treated with a drug and exposed to light. Then, the blood is returned to the person. This is used to treat symptoms of a certain type of lymphoma.