Anti-cancer creams or chemotherapy creams kill cancer cells on the skin. Since less cream is absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin, anti-cancer creams usually have fewer side effects as compared to other types of cancer treatments that are more invasive, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
However, the creams may not be effective in treating cancer that has already progressed to an advanced stage. Instead, it is suitable for early-stage skin cancers.
Can Skin Cancer Be Treated With Cream?
Anti-cancer creams are directly applied to skin cancer lesions. You can do this yourself at home. It is crucial to follow the topical treatment daily for several weeks to see improvement in your condition. The anti-cancer creams can be applied on:
- Surface-level or superficial cancers
- Precancerous lesions
- Multiple lesions
If you've recently been diagnosed with any type of skin cancer but don't want to get cancer-removal surgery, anti-cancer creams can be a great alternative treatment. However, if the cancer has already progressed, you might need to couple the topical treatment with some other type of cancer treatment to experience the benefits.
Does Chemo Cream Work?
The simple answer to this is: Yes. Chemotherapy creams do work. However, it is also important to keep your expectations realistic. It is not a miraculous solution to all types of cancers. In fact, anti-cancer creams are primarily used to treat surface-level skin cancers. According to a 2013 review, chemotherapy cream is especially effective in treating nonmelanoma skin cancers, with a 65-100% success rate.
Additionally, it can also be used as a preventive measure if you're at risk of developing any type of skin cancer. For instance, if large areas of your skin are sun-damaged, an anti-cancer cream may be prescribed to manage the condition and prevent it from developing cancer cells.
What Anti-Cancer Creams are There?
The most common type of anti-cancer cream that is currently available is 5-fluorouracil (5FU). This drug works by killing any fast-growing skin cells, including cancer cells and any other cells that may be dividing quickly enough to develop into cancer.
Some of the approved brands that manufacture fluorouracil include:
Is Fluorouracil Available Over The Counter?
Unfortunately, this drug is not available over the counter. Since fluorouracil is a strong treatment that can have some serious side effects, it can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. It is also important to apply the correct dosage of the cream. Not only does this ensure the best results, but it also minimizes the risk of the side effects.
If you feel like getting anti-cancer creams is a good option for you, consult with your doctor to get a proper prescription and discuss the pros and cons of the treatment.
Who Should Not Use Fluorouracil?
Fluorouracil topical creams are not suitable for everyone. Following are some reasons you should avoid using these creams and opt for some other type of treatment.
- Anyone who is allergic to fluorouracil should not use this topical cream.
- Anyone with the metabolic disorder known as DPD (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase) deficiency should steer clear of this cream.
- A pregnant woman should avoid using it. If you are already using fluorouracil, use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy as long as the treatment lasts.
- Breastfeeding women should also avoid using fluorouracil topical creams.
- The drug has not been approved to be used by anyone under the age of 18.
- Fluorouracil topical should not be applied on the creases around the nose or the eyelids.
How Long Does It Take For Fluorouracil Cream To Work?
Depending on the type of skin cancer you have and the severity of the tumor, you will have to use the anti-cancer cream anywhere between 3 - 12 weeks. During this time, you will experience redness of the skin. However, this usually goes away within a couple of weeks after the treatment stops. If it lasts longer, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Having any type of cancer treatment can be scary and frustrating. However, it isn’t the end of the world. When caught early on, most types of cancers can be managed and even reversed. This is why it is important to stay aware of the signs of cancer.
If you notice any of these symptoms, head over to Suncoast Skin Solutions as soon as possible.