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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Photodynamic therapy for lung cancer

Photodynamic therapy for lung cancer

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) for lung cancer may be performed on an outpatient basis. It is typically pain-free, requires limited sedation, and involves less risk than surgery and fewer side effects because healthy tissue is spared. PDT also generally takes just minutes to complete.

What is photodynamic therapy?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a bronchoscopy procedure to reach laser-activated drugs to destroy cancer cells and treat symptomatic tissues.

PDT may be repeated on the same area, unlike radiation and chemotherapy, which may make it a good option for treating tumors that recur. The most common side effect of this bronchosopy treatment is sensitivity to bright light, which typically lasts four to six weeks.

To conduct the procedure, your doctor will first inject a photosensitizing agent to make cells more sensitive to light. The drugs are absorbed by cancer cells over the course of a couple of days. Next, your doctor will apply laser light to the airway using bronchoscopy-guidance. When the laser is turned on, it shines on the tumor and reacts with photosensitized cells to destroy them.