For several years, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been used by the physicians at the University of Pennsylvania to treat mesothelioma. PDT combined with lung-sparing surgery has increased a mesothelioma patients’ survival rate to an average of 41.2 months, from a previous 6.8 months lifespan after diagnosis.This innovative treatment option involves the use of chemicals to enhance the cancer cell-killing properties of (PDT).
This latest treatment option for mesothelioma patients is a three step method. The first step is the administration of photosensitizing chemicals such as photofrin®, Levulan®, Metvixia® to the mesothelioma patient which allows the cells to be easily penetrated by the light. The next step is to wait 4-72 hours for the cells to become vulnerable to light. Lastly, the physician administers a wavelength of light into the tumor with a specialized laser that stimulates the chemical in the cells and destroys the cancer cells.
Treatment with PDT is beneficial for an individual with a mesothelioma diagnosis because there are no reported side effects. PDT is a more cost effective treatment than other available treatment options. PDT is also less invasive than surgical procedures, resulting in few if any scars and can be administered repeatedly to increase its effectiveness.
There are some potential drawbacks to PDT. Studies show that phototherapy is most effective at treating local cancer lesions with less layers of cells. There also have been reports of some patients being allergic to the photosensitizing chemical administered during treatment.
Perhaps the biggest downside for a patient considering treatment with PDT is the fact that they will become overly sensitive to light. This means that a patient’s skin and eyes are especially vulnerable to artificial and indoor lighting. A mesothelioma patient undergoing phototherapy treatment can develop a severe sunburn even if only exposed to direct sunlight for a few minutes. Sunscreen is not effective in protecting the mesothelioma patient and the only option is to wear tightly woven clothing that covers all exposed skin.
For more information on mesothelioma, contact the Philadelphia mesothelioma law firm of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers keep current with medical advances and innovative treatment options that can help those affected by mesothelioma. Our lawyers will evaluate your situation at no cost to you. We represent clients in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Call our Center City Philadelphia office today at 1-800-369-0899 or contact us online.