Blue light combined with photosensitizing drugs, called photodynamic therapy, treats skin cancers without inducing long-term side effects. The special blue light activates the drugs, leaving little or no scarring. Doctors do not administer photodynamic therapy to patients with porphyria, a rare blood disease, as it may trigger allergic reactions.
Photodynamic therapy is safe to use for multiple treatments without producing the blistering, burning sensations or fatigue sometimes associated with radiation therapy. Photosensitizing drugs typically result in temporary light sensitivity in the skin and eyes.
Patients should avoid exposure to sunlight or other bright lights due to the potential for swelling and rapid sunburns. Patients must protect their eyes and skin for a few weeks after completing blue light treatments.