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12 Facts about Skin Cancer Cream

Learn twelve facts about skin cancer cream from board-certified dermatologist Ahmet Altiner in this Howcast video.


There are many types of medicated creams approved by the FDA for the treatment of early skin cancer, such as superficial BCCs, and squamous cell carcinoma in situ.

Some of the most common ones are used are Efudex, Aldara, and Solaraze. Efudex is actually a chemotherapeutic medicine that's put in cream form. It will treat the cancerous cells by causing them to die. They are often used for two to four weeks on the affected area, and may cause burning, pain, or tingling.

Aldara, on the other hand, works by stimulating your own immune system. It works much longer than Efudex, but it's much well tolerated. Oftentimes 16 weeks is needed to treat skin cancer with Aldara.

Solaraze is even easier to use, as it does not cause any type of superficial tingling or pain sensation, but it may be used for up to three months to treat the pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratosis.

Most of the time your dermatologist will recommend that your skin cancer is treated by excision, meaning cutting it out. However, in certain cases, they may recommend a cream. This is when the patient is very elderly, or the spot is too big to be cut out in one stage, or the spot is in a very cosmetically sensitive area that will lead to severe disfiguration.

The only way to determine whether you are a candidate for these creams is to have a detailed discussion with your dermatologist and have the site examined, and also the pathology report looked at.

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