New technology offers light relief for skin cancer
Written by Dr Ian Muirhead, CEO of Ambicare Health
The advent of home healthcare is revolutionising the way in which we are able to treat illnesses and conditions. Advances and innovations in healthcare technologies have enabled more serious ailments to be treated at home and a new device developed in the UK is now facilitating the home treatment of skin cancers.
The incidence of non-malignant skin cancer continues to grow rapidly and now affects 15 percent of the UK, 40 percent of the USA, and 75 percent of the Australian populations during their lifetimes.
Ambulight PDT, similar in appearance to a sticking plaster, is a revolutionary new light treatment which when used with a prescription pharmaceutical destroys cancer cells and can be used at home or on-the move, avoiding the need for a hospital stay.
It works using photodynamic therapy (PDT), an established alternative to surgery for many forms of skin cancer that uses safe and carefully controlled light sources, combined with a light-sensitive cream, to destroy cancer cells.
Photodynamic therapy has become a key treatment for skin cancers and its use is expanding. The Ambulight PDT treatment avoids the scarring associated with surgical removal of tumours, while reducing the pain experienced by some patients compared to treatment with conventional light sources.
Treatment is simple; a special cream is applied to the area that needs treatment, the plaster is left in place for six hours and the low intensity red light source is used to activate the chemical which kills the abnormal cells.
The device takes into account patients’ needs and preferences, while recognising that there is a need to provide high-quality care close to a patient’s home. It is an attractive option for patients who want to continue with their normal daily activities while receiving treatment, with many patients continuing to work, socialise or take light exercise while using the product.
Its use of innovative technology and design recently caught the eye of the Index Design Awards, one of the world’s most prestigious design accolades, which lead to New Scientist magazine selecting the Ambulight PDT as one of its leading contenders.
About Ambicare Health:
Developers Ambicare are pioneers in the field of innovative wearable light sources for medical and consumer healthcare needs. Additional ground-breaking devices are scheduled for development and release in 2011 and 2012, including a light-based treatment for acne, and a collagen boosting skin rejuvenation device to reduce lines and wrinkles.