There was a recent posted question on the American Board of Laser Surgery's website about treating a patient who has had basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in the past with a treatment like IPL.
This is obviously a controversial topic for sure!
My protocol (remembering that I am a surgeon) is that anyone with a history of skin cancer must have a full body skin cancer screening in the last six months by their dermatologist prior to me treating them. I must have a letter from that dermatologist stating that there is no active cancer anywhere on the skin and no suspicious lesions that need to be followed. Obviously, if there was a h/o skin cancer on an area I am NOT treating with IPL or laser, I just want a full body check and then we're good. If there is a previous lesion IN the area I am treating, then after dermatology clearance, I have a strong talk with the patient discussing the fact that treatmetns that potentially depigment lesions can mask the warning signs of a potential or growing cancer. They sign separately in consent their understanding and acceptance of risk and wish to proceed with the cosmetic treatment.
This particular question was regarding a simple IPL treatment for a cosmetic concern in a patient that had had h/o BCC in another area. If cleared, you would be fine to treat the cosmetic condition. I did not want anyone reading this to think that I was indicating that the IPL was meant to actually treat the BCC. I do think that it can be preventative of precancers buy removing damaged pigment cells and pigment, but that is obviously an impossible study. Hope that helps!