What is Topical Chemotherapy?
Skin cancer treatments have evolved over time, offering patients multiple ways to treat skin cancers depending on the subtype. Topical chemotherapy is used to treat precancerous areas and skin cancer affecting only the most superficial layer of the skin. When appropriate, using topical creams to destroy precancerous and cancerous cells offers multiple benefits. In certain scenarios, it is a viable substitute for surgery, as it actively treats cancer cells and causes less scarring than other treatment options. In addition, this treatment can be applied to the skin at home, allowing privacy and comfort when undergoing treatment. At Snyder Dermatology in Austin, TX, one of our board-certified dermatologists will assess your specific cancer and determine if topical chemotherapy will be an effective treatment.
What to Expect
Topical chemotherapy to treat skin cancer is a self-administered, at-home treatment prescribed to treat precancerous changes and mild skin cancer that resides only in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). In most cases, the cream is applied once or twice a day for days to weeks. The duration will depend on your specific diagnosis and treatment plan. The medication may cause irritation and redness to the skin during use, which will be monitored closely by our providers during and after your treatment to ensure the medication is properly addressing your condition. It is important to note that the treatment area will feel and appear tender and uncomfortable throughout the duration of using the topical medication as it works to effectively destroy cancerous and precancerous cells in the skin.
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About This Medication
Topical chemotherapy is a nonsurgical form of treatment that effectively works to destroy precancerous and cancerous cells in the top layer of the skin. At Snyder Dermatology, we offer several forms of topical creams for this, including:
- Imiquimod (IMQ)
- 5-fluorouracil (5FU)
Treatment depends on the type of cancer being treated and the location. Your treatment plan may include a combination of these medications. These treatments remain a proven method for treating early stages of cancer and attacking precancerous cells. For many of our Austin, TX patients who are candidates for this treatment, it is a preferred solution compared to other forms of skin cancer treatments.
Patients will need to make sure they are caring for their delicate skin throughout the duration of their treatment, as well as after the treatment has been completed. Certain moisturizers may be recommended to help soothe the skin. The overall healing process after treatment is lengthy and may take up to two (2) weeks. We will work with you to discuss aftercare solutions and how to achieve a smooth healing process. It is very important to protect your skin from the sun during and after the treatment process.
Plan Your Procedure
A New Way to Treat Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with having precancerous cells or skin cancer on the top layer of the skin, ask if topical chemotherapy is an option to treat your condition. At Snyder Dermatology we offer numerous solutions to treat skin cancer. For patients who are able to use topical chemotherapy at home, we will instruct you how to self-administer this form of medication and undergo treatment in the privacy and comfort of your home. Take the first steps in sustaining healthier skin and call our office today to schedule your consultation.