Skin cancer can now be treated with a revolutionary light emitting sticking plaster. This Ambulight is a form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) which is being looked upon as an alternative to surgery. The advantage of this therapy over surgery is that it is less painful, avoids the scarring associated with the surgical excision of the tumor and secondly it also reduces the period of hospitalization required by the patient.
This device consists of a disc-shaped pod of 1inch diameter that has medical-grade red LED lights. The source of light is attached to a controller. Before using this device, a photosensitizing cream is rubbed on the skin and the pod is attached to the skin with the help of a plaster. The pod is turned on after about 3hours when the cream penetrates in the skin. The device emits light up to 3hours and can then be disposed off.
PDT can be used for treating non-melanoma type skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The most common treatment for non-melanoma involved applying a cream on skin for several hours, after which the patient is exposed to intensive light treatment. But with this new development patients can move around freely during treatment and can leave the hospital within minutes. This machine costs about 100 pounds. Developer of Ambulight, James Ferguson said, "Trials have shown it to be up to 90% as effective as hospital treatment and it's a lot gentler."