Now's the Time to Manage Your Damage
Levulan® Photodynamic Therapy (Levulan PDT) is an advanced treatment for actinic keratoses (AKs), or rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that can lead to skin cancer. Levulan PDT, a 2-part treatment course, is unique because it uses a light activated drug therapy to destroy AKs.
Levulan® Kerastick® Topical Solution is applied to the AK. The solution is then absorbed by the AK cells where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the BLU-U® blue light illuminator, a reaction occurs which destroys the AK cells.
The short, 2-part treatment course is convenient and fits your lifestyle:
• Low downtime*
• No prescription to fill
• No daily medication to remember
• Excellent cosmetic response1
• No scarring reported to date
*Patients treated with Levulan PDT should avoid exposure of the photosensitized lesions to sunlight or prolonged or intense light for at least 40 hours.
Actinic Keratoses Facts
What are actinic keratoses?
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that are caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) such as sunlight. More than 10 million American have AKs.
Photographs Coutesy of The Skin Cancer Foundation
• AKs are often called “sun spots”
• They occur most often on the face, scalp, ears, neck, hands and arms
• They can range in color from skin toned to reddish brown
• They can be as small as a pinhead or larger than a quarter
Who gets AKs?
AKs are seen primarily in Caucasians with pale skin living in sunny climates. Areas of the skin with the most sun exposure, such as the head, neck, forearms, and hands account for more than 80 percent of AKs.
AKs develop as the result of years of sun exposure. Because the effect of sun exposure is cumulative, it is your lifetime exposure that increases your risk. Even if you didn’t suntan much, years of just doing simple tasks outside can add up to significant amount of sun exposures. For example:
• Going out to the mailbox
• Playing an outdoor sport
• Walking the dog
Because AKs take a long time to develop, they generally appear after the age of 40. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 60 percent of persons apt to get AKs will indeed get at least one AK in their lifetime.
Your risk of developing AKs increases if you have one or more of the risk factors.
What are some of the risk factors?
• A history of cumulative sun exposure
• Fair skin
• Blond or red hair, in particular if combined with blue, hazel or green eyes
• A tendency to freckle or burn after sun exposure
• A weakened immune system
What do AKs look like?
AKs generally begin as rough spots of skin that may be easier to feel than see. Common complaints include a lesion that has increased in size or one that is raised, bleeding, poor in healing, discolored, or associated with discomfort such as pain or itching.
While a lesion may initially appear skin colored to pink, red, or brown, lesions on darker skin may be more pigmented. AKs may feel soft, rough, or “gritty,” but in any case, they feel different from the surrounding healthy skin.
Since there are many clinical variants of AKs, it is best to consult a dermatologist if you suspect a lesion.
Why treat AKs?
AKs are considered to be the first step in the development of skin cancer. They have the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). While most AKs remain benign, a study has shown that approximately 10 percent develop into SCC within an average of 2 years.1 Since there is no way to know ahead of time which AKs will develop into SCC, it is very important for individuals with AKs to be under a dermatologist’s care. Frequent skin examinations are the key to early detection and prevention.
Please visit the following organizations for more information on AKs: