Basal and squamous cell skin cancers, which not spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body, can be treated with non-surgical solutions such as topical chemotherapy. While this treatment is designed to destroy the diseased part of the body tissue, it involves no cuts or incisions in the skin.
During the pre-op consultation, the dermatologist will determine the patient’s candidacy for topical chemotherapy treatment and recommend a customized treatment plan.
Outstanding, poignant, and board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness provides topical chemotherapy to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding communities across the horizon in this section of the Midwest.
The goal of chemotherapy is to eliminate cancer cells by using certain drugs. In topical chemotherapy, the anti-cancer medicine is directly placed over the skin, usually in the form of an ointment or cream. In rare cases, the medicine may be administered orally or injected directly into the vein.
5-FU is the most commonly used drug in topical treatment of actinic keratoses, as well as some basal and squamous cell skin cancers. The topical treatment is typically applied to the skin one or two times a day for several weeks. If placed directly over the affected areas of the skin, 5-FU will kill tumor cells on or close to the surface of the skin.
However, this treatment cannot reach cancer cells that are deep within the skin layers or those which have spread elsewhere. Therefore, 5-FU is ideally used for superficial skin cancers as well as actinic keratosis, which is a pre-cancerous condition. The drug is applied only to the targeted areas of the skin, and does not spread throughout the body.
Therefore, 5-FU does not cause the same side effects as systemic chemotherapy. But it will make the skin very sensitive and red for a few weeks. To gain relief from these effects, the dermatologist may recommend other topical medications if required. The skin will also become more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, during and after this topical chemotherapy, sun exposure must be avoided for a few weeks to prevent sunburn.
In very rare cases, patients with a condition known as DPD deficiency, may develop serious side effects with 5-FU. Therefore, if a patient experiences side effects or reactions that are beyond what they were told to expect, they should contact the dermatologist.
Actinic keratoses may sometimes be treated with a gel containing the drug diclofenac. This drug belongs to the group of drugs known as NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Common drugs in this group include aspirin and ibuprofen. The patient may be required to apply the gel twice a day for two to three months.
Ingenol Mebutate (Picato)
This formulation in gel form is used to treat actinic keratosis, and is known to work faster than other similar treatments. The gel is applied to the affected sites daily for two or three days. Skin reactions to this treatment can be uncomfortable, but they will typically begin to dissipate in about one week after the start of treatment.
Terrific and board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and other cities and communities in this region of the nation for topical chemotherapy.
If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)
Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.