One of the scariest things you can learn when visiting the dermatologist is that you have skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. There are two types of skin cancer — non-melanoma and melanoma. Non-melanoma skin cancer includes basal and squamous cell skin cancers. Today we are going to focus on these two skin cancers.

Skin cancer can be scary, but if you are diagnosed with non-melanoma cancers, including basal or squamous cell carcinoma and actinic keratoses, there are treatment options that do not involve surgery. Depending on the severity of your skin cancer, one option you may have for treatment is topical chemotherapy.

At Azeal Dermatology Institute, we offer topical chemotherapy skin cancer treatments that can help you rid your body of your non-melanoma skin cancer without having to undergo surgery or other skin cancer treatments. If you have recently been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, be sure to schedule an appointment with us to learn more about topical chemotherapy. Our experts can help you get the right treatment for your non-melanoma skin cancer.

Before you are prescribed topical chemotherapy or choosing it as your skin cancer treatment, we are sure you want to know more about it. In this blog, we are going to go over topical chemotherapy and give you all the information you need to know about this treatment option. Read on to learn more and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

When is Topical Chemotherapy Prescribed?

While topical chemotherapy is a treatment option, it may not be right for your skin cancer. Topical chemotherapy is prescribed when the skin cancer is superficial and non-melanoma cancer. If your cancer is too aggressive other options may be explored. Topical chemotherapy can also be used in addition to surgery. When you schedule your appointment with us, we will go over your options and help you pick the right treatment option for you.

What Are the Benefits of Topical Chemotherapy?

When it comes to avoiding surgery or systemic chemotherapy, anything seems like a better option. There are many benefits to topical chemotherapy that could make it a better skin cancer treatment option for you. Some of these advantages include:

  • It can be less scarring than surgery.
  • These creams use cytotoxic cancer-killing drugs that destroy cancer at a cellular level.
  • Treatments can be done at home.
  • Topical creams only effect treated areas — no nausea, hair loss, or other effects of different forms of chemo.
  • If used on precancerous cells located near a primary tumor site, it can sometimes stop these cells from becoming cancerous.

When you have the choice between surgery or an intravenously or pill form of chemotherapy and a topical chemotherapy, there are many benefits that topical treatment offer that others do not. Topical chemotherapy, like other chemo forms, has its downsides, but when you compare it to the downsides of other skin cancer treatments, it may be the best bet. Other chemotherapies can affect your entire body, topical chemotherapy will affect only the area treated. Being able to do these treatments at home with fewer side effects makes topical chemotherapy a great choice for many people.

What Are the Side Effects?

Like all cancer treatment options, there are always going to be side effects. The side effects of topical chemotherapy are fewer than other forms but they may be more noticeable since they are on the surface of your skin. Some of the side effects of topical creams include:

  • Itching and flaking skin
  • Redness
  • Scabbing (including small open sores that do not heal quickly)
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Some experience flu-like symptoms that go away when treatment stops

While these side effect may not seem worth it, this could be the best options for your skin cancer treatment when compared to surgery or other chemotherapy types. The hard truth is that cancer is never fun and the treatments for it are not going to be fun either, but these treatments can help with your skin cancer.

How Do You Use It?

While the application instructions may differ from person to person and the type of topical chemotherapy they are prescribed, most are going to have the same use instructions. Most topical chemotherapy creams are going to need to be applied twice a day to the areas affected. Your treatment will likely last a couple of weeks and can be done at home, which is a major plus for many people.

Is it Effective?

According to the OC Skin Institute, topical chemotherapy can be very effective. Like other chemotherapy forms, however, no cure has been found to be 100 percent effective. The cure rates are high for topical chemotherapy, with results between 80 and 90 percent. This means that there is a good chance that topical chemotherapy can help cure you of your skin cancer, but of course, results vary from patient to patient.

Skin cancer can be scary but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Getting diagnosed with skin cancer early is the best way to get the treatment you need and cure your skin cancer faster. We can help diagnose you, get you the right treatment, and help you to prevent skin cancer in the future. Our skincare experts are always here to help and know that knowledge is power when it comes to your skin.

Hopefully, you know a little more about topical chemotherapy and how it can help you with your non-melanoma skin cancer. Our skin experts at Azeal Dermatology Institute in Boulder can help you determine if topical chemotherapy is right for you and your skin cancer.

Remember, all skin cancer treatments will have advantages and disadvantages. We can help you decide which is right for you. Schedule your appointment today to find out if topical cream if right for you. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.