Efficacy of Black Salve for BCC on nose?

There are numerous anecdotal reports online that BCC, on the nose, has been cured or stopped by Black Salve. Are all such reports transitory or even bogus?

Doctor Answers 6

Black salve is not a safe way to treat skin cancer

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I would recommend you see a dermatologist first to evaluate the lesion. You might potentially do yourself a lot of harm by using black salve or any over the counter type of treatment. The claims these manufacturers make do not actually match what they can do. On the face, particularly the nose, Mohs surgery is considered the best and most effective and cosmetically superior treatment, but other options are also on the table and are way more studied and effective than black salve.

Stamford Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Black Salve is Not Effective for Basal Cell Carcinoma

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There are reports online about this, I have also seen some of these. However, these reports are anecdotal, and are not approved as effective treatment methods for treating non-melanoma skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma. For appropriate treatment, surgery is typically the best option, as this also gives you information regarding the tumor margins, and the knowledge that the tumor has been successfully treated and excised completely.

Black salve is NOT effective for skin cancer treatment

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If you know you have a skin cancer on your nose or even if you suspect it, seek a consultation with a dermatologist to find out for sure. There are effective medical and surgical treatments for skin cancer (depending upon the size, location and number of lesions) but black salve is not an effective option. It might make things look better for a time but will not eliminate the cancer. It can then reappear in a larger state down the road and require major surgery for proper removal. It is just not worth the risk to use an unproven salve to treat a potentially serious medical condition. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Black Salve is Bogus

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I've seen patients who used black salve, for one it worked, for others it didn't. In the one in whom it worked, it worked too well... it destroyed not only the BCC but a lot of surrounding skin and the patient was left with a huge divot in his nose.

In others it didn't work, so the eventual treatment (Mohs) was delayed and therefore ended up being a bigger procedure.

The treatment is non-specific and the patient may end up under- or over-treated. There's no pathology so the patient doesn't know if he/she is cured.

Mohs surgery followed by reconstruction has the highest cure rate/ highest efficacy for BCC of the nose.

Anne Marie McNeill, MD, PhD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Efficacy of Black Salve for BCC on nose

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When BCCs grow they can have roots, similar to how a tree has roots. What happens with things like Black Salve is that they can destroy surface tissue (and actually healthy tissue along with it!), but they are unable to get in and get to the roots of the BCCs. This means that the BCCs will continue to grow, possibly deeper and wider underneath, and it will eventually resurface. There are much more effective ways, Mohs being the gold standard procedure, to treat all of the BCC, rather than just a surface piece of it.

"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care.

Black Salve for Basal Cell Carcinoma

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Black Salve and some other similar products are escharotics. They burn and destroy the tissue nonspecifically and were used to treat skin cancers many decades ago. There are safer, more effective forms of treatment for skin cancer. In my opinion you should not use these products. You should see a dermatologist. If a lesion is suspicious, it should be biopsied. The results of that biopsy will provide your dermatologist with appropriate options for treatment and you and your dermatologist can plan on the appropriate, safe, effective treatment. Good luck.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.