Is Efudex and Carac the Best Treatment for your Skin Cancer and Sun Damaged Skin?

What is Efudex / Carac Cream?

lexical_ec26cfd6dda155b8986c7c526b233728 (1)Efudex and Carac are the names of a topical chemotherapy cream commonly used for skin cancers and precancerous lesions. The active ingredient in this topical cream is 5-Fluorouracil. In certain instances, this therapy can be used as an alternative to radiation and surgery for cancerous skin lesion.

Who Is 5-Fluorouracil For?

This topical therapy works to help remove the abnormal, precancerous and cancerous cells from the skin. There are instances where patients are unable to tolerate surgery, or possess very superficial disease that can be effectively treated without going under the knife. For these patients, there is a topical alternative. Basically, a cream that stops the abnormal cells from growing and developing further.

What Does 5-Fluorouracil Do?

The purpose of the cream is to slow down and halt the spreading of some of the more superficial skin cancers. The cream interferes with the DNA synthesis in the atypical cells. It is approved for use in patients with precancerous lesions like Actinic Keratosis, as well as some Basal Cell Carcinoma. It has also been used for some Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Extramammary Paget’s Disease, Actinic Cheilitis (Solar Cheilosis), erythroplasia of Queyrat and even in melanoma cases.

Upon application of the cream, the areas containing the precancerous and cancerous tissue will  become inflamed and will crust over. This is normal, as your skin is being told to discontinue and shed the abnormal tissue from inside the top layer of skin.

What Are Possible Side Effects?

There is always hope that there will be no side effects. I tell my patients that this is a chemotherapy – a lot better than systemic chemotherapies, but not without some adverse effects and discomfort. Medicines like these are attempting to remove toxic cells from your body, so it is common that there will be side effects.  Swelling and redness is observed in the area that is being treated over the course of treatment. As the atypical cells are killed off, crusting and scabbing is often encountered int he treated area. Occasionally, feeling of burning or pain can be experienced. Some patients will note a  loss of the outer layer of skin, as well as increased sensitivity to the sun during treatment. If ever you are concerned that the side effects you are feeling aren’t consistent with the treatment, it’s you should contact your Dermatologist immediately.

What Is The Success Rate of this Treatment?

As with any treatment, the success rate depends on many factors. The severity of a patient’s case is key in the success. Along with the severity of the cancer is how well the patient tolerates treatment. This differs person to person.

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Concerned that you may have an abnormal skin spot or mark? Please contact us today so we can get you set up with a skin cancer screening today!

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