Efudex for pre cancers called Actinic Keratosis


Efudex Program for sun damaged skin

Efudex is a topical cream that has remained the GOLD STANDARD for treatment of pre-cancers called actinic keratosis. It is an optional treatment for fair skin individuals with multiple or recurrent actinic keratosis. It is particularly useful for those with a history of strong sun exposure or a personal or family history of skin cancer. Efudex is used for 2-6 weeks depending on the area being treated. It is a selective cream that attacks only pre-cancers and early basal cell cancers.

Efudex acts like a private detective in that you treat an entire area and it selectively finds the damaged areas and treats them. If there is no skin damage, there is no reaction and no redness or irritation. If however, there is even invisible damage, it highlights these areas and treats them. It really isn’t as useful for more developed or advanced skin cancers and can’t clear these like pre-cancers. The goal of your therapy with Efudex is to be pro-active and potentially cut down on your total number of pre-cancers and future skin cancers.

Most patients use the cream twice a day for 4 weeks from start to finish. It is usually best to treat an area and not spot treat. Most patients choose to treat the entire face at once although a few prefer to treat one cheek or section at a time.

The treated areas may begin to get itchy, red, irritated, or sensitive by 10-14 days. Once you finish the full 4 week treatment, the areas calm down over the next 1-3 weeks.

There are multiple other treatment alternatives for patients who are unable or don’t wish to have Efudex treatment. These include freezing ( liquid nitrogen), Carac, Solaraze, Aldara, PDT, Photdynamic Therapy with Blue Light, ALA/ laser treatments, facial peels, etc.

Article by
Orange County Dermatologist