A recent article in a dermatology peer review journal presents pictures and data on benign freckles and other colored spots converting to a very deadly form of skin cancer called LENTIGO MALIGNA (malignant melanoma) after being exposed to a laser beam.
Lasers produce heat on the basis of the color of the target (tatoo, birthmark, hair, colored spots on the skin, pigment of the skin, a tan, etc.). Brown spots on the skin have various names like “age spots”, “liver spots”, freckles, etc. Often they are on the face and patients want them removed. These spots are usually benign, however, when exposed to laser beams the intensity of a laser is additive to the accumulated damage that ocurred as a result of exposure to the sun over a period of the patients life. It has now been proven these laser treated areas can become cancerous after exposure to intense laser light.
The bigest problem is due to the fact most laser wielders are poorly trained and no state issues a license to become a laser technician, therefore there are no standards to protect patients. ONLY A DOCTOR is qualified to make this diagnosis, therefore, all patients who are treated by cut-rate laser operators are risking their life.
Melanomas will take time to develop and can spread to the brain and patients can be dead of a brain tumor in three years with no knowledge that the cause was the laser. The treated spots will bleach out and this makes it impossible for a diagnosis to be made until it may be too late. The color of the spot, size of the spot and shape are im portant to make a correct diagnosis and they are modified by the laser to the degree that makes a diagnosis impossible. Some of the spots that are treated can be melanomas before treatment is begun but the operator has no ability to make this diagnosis, therefore, treatment can make the problem worse.
Lasers for hair REDUCTION have been on the market for about ten years, however, there are no statistics as to what percentage of the hair can be expected to be reduced and what percentage of the cases are failures. This is unusual for medical treatments as it is an estblished fact that no two people respond the same to any treatment. Some patients are poor risks and others may be good risks, however, there is a risk with every procedure but after ten years of experience with thousands of patients there is NO PUBLISHED DATA ON THE EFFICACY AND/OR SAFETY OF LASER TREATMENTS. If this information was available many patients would not agree to be treated. For some unknown reason FDA does not request any information about this, however, FDA allows the claim of “permanent hair reduction” to be used. If ten hairs are reduced out of an area with 500 hairs there is a negligible amount of hair removed but the fee is based on length of treatment time not on efficacy of treatment, FDA requirements are about SAFETY AND EFFICACY in this instance have been thrown to the winds. WHY ?