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Tuesday
Jun192012

Laser/IPL Procedures For Patients With Skin Cancer History

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!

Reader Comments (2)

In our clinic our physicians take a quick scan of every treatment area and we don't treat if anyone sees something of concern. It is entirely possible for someone to remove the pigment from a melanoma and have that go undiagnosed. Skin cancer is nothing to play around with and 'IPLs and cosmetic lasers are not real medicine' tribe are doing everyone a disservice.

06.22 | Unregistered CommenterLrgo

I totally agree. Everyone needs to get a full cancer screening before treatment.

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