The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on photodynamic therapy for non-melanoma skin tumours (including premalignant and primary non-metastatic skin lesions).
Non-melanoma skin tumours include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, Bowen's disease and actinic (or solar) keratoses.
Current treatments for basal cell carcinoma include topical chemotherapy, curettage, surgical excision, cryotherapy and radiotherapy. Squamous cell carcinoma is usually removed surgically. Actinic keratoses and Bowen's disease are usually treated with curettage, cryotherapy or topical chemotherapy.
Before photodynamic therapy (PDT), the lesion is prepared by removing overlying crust and scale. Cream containing a photosensitising agent is applied to the lesion and a margin of surrounding skin. The area is covered with a light occlusive dressing and left for a few hours. Excess cream is then removed and the lesion is illuminated by light of an appropriate wavelength to activate the photosensitiser, producing targeted tumour destruction. Occasionally, the photosensitising agent may be given intravenously. More than one lesion may be treated in a session and the treatment may be repeated.
This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account. However, the guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.