The latest method for treating non-melanoma skin cancer is almost as easy as wearing a band-aid for six hours. At the very least, it is gentler than the current procedure in use.
The recommended treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer is photodynamic therapy (PDT),where a specific type of light used to kill cancer cells. PDT requires a stay in the hospital for an intensive treatment and is considered a costly procedure.
Ambicare Health of Fife, Scotland, which specializes in wearable light sources for medical health, have devised a new way for patients to receive this form of treatment. The Ambulight PDT is a portable device which allows patients to receive this light-emitting therapy without the need for lengthy hospital treatments.
The Ambulight PDT is a light-emitting plaster and the entire device, including the battery pack, is about the size of a computer mouse. It is small enough to let the patient remain mobile and carry on their regular activities while receiving the treatment.
The cancerous area of skin is covered with a light-sensitive pharmaceutical cream that is absorbed by the cancer cells (any healthy tissue is left unaltered). The cream is then covered with a large bandage style sticking plaster. The area is then blasted by a low-level light.
The total treatment takes just six hours – three for the cream to become effective and then a further three hours with the light treatment.
The Ambulight PDT is a one-time only device and is disposed of after a single use. The patient is required to have a specialist administer it but after that they are able to go home.
One of the many benefits of the Ambulight PDT is that the low-level light reduces the amount of pain, as well as reducing the stress by not having to remain in a hospital bed.
“The Ambulight PDT is the most ambulatory device to treat non-melanoma skin cancer to be developed to date. We believe that it is the future for this kind of treatment; Ambulight PDT will reduce costs for the healthcare provider by freeing up hospital day beds or cubicles and improve patient care by allowing them to continue with their normal daily tasks during treatment,” explains Ian Muirhead, CEO of Ambicare Health.
In 2009 there were over one million new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the U.S. Alone.
The Ambulight PDT is currently being used in the United Kingdom and in 2010 received the CE mark in Europe allowing Ambicare Health to market the PDT throughout Europe. This should mean that, with federal approval, the Ambulight PDT should make it to the USA in the not too distant future.