A group of people are starting at someone using Efudex Treatment.

How to Deal with Questions about Your Efudex Treatment

It goes without saying that many patients who are prescribed Efudex go into the process with very little preparation.

The (potentially) scary reality of Efudex

The more I have read and the more I have talked with fellow skin cancer patients, the more I see going into this process without much preparation as a scary reality. Lack of information from doctors leads patients to do their own research, launching them into an even more frightening place: the Google Images tab. Prospective Efudex users quickly see that there are some incredibly unsightly and uncomfortable side effects, and this alone sets the wheels of doubt in motion.

What will people say?

Feelings of apprehension are common when it comes to beginning treatment with Efudex. Understandably, many are concerned with how they will deal with work, school, and the public in general, especially when the treatment area is visible. The red, scabby, and raw flesh can certainly be a topic of conversation. Friends, family, co-workers, and those you may run across on everyday errands will absolutely have questions, and there will be more than a few second and third glances.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Stares, questions, and answers

When treating my face a few years ago, I was asked many questions. Not all of them were easy to answer, but all of them gave me a chance to educate. In all honesty, the more I was asked, the more comfortable I became around others. I never grew oblivious to the fact that my face was semi-terrifying at one stage in treatment, but I grew accustomed to the stares and my answers started to come more naturally. Some comments are curious and tactful–others, not so much.

What I've been asked, and how I respond:

What happened to your face?
I’m using topical chemotherapy to treat precancers on my skin. The cream gets rid of them so they don’t turn into cancer that will have to be removed by surgery.

Is that a sunburn?
No, it’s not. But I have to go through this now because I used to tan and get sunburned regularly. If I could take those years back, I would be a regular sunscreen user.

Will it always look that bad?
It will look rough for several weeks until the scabs come off. After that, the redness will linger for a few months.

Will it leave scars?
No, it’s hard to believe, but it doesn’t scar.

Does it hurt?
You better believe it. It stings, burns, and itches all day and night.

What does it feel like?
It feels like I am wearing a mask full of fire ants, and if I had been more careful with sun safety, I might not be dealing with it at all.

A medicine caused that?
I trust my dermatologist. It’s a lot to handle, but it has taken countless precancers off my skin over the years. The more it takes off, the less often I have had to use it. Well, maybe you shouldn’t be using it.

None of this is easy

Using Efudex is not easy. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone who would argue that point. Having an idea of what you will face does make the entire process more doable. Knowing what to say when you are confronted with questions, though, gives you back your self-confidence and the power over your own experience.

Have you been asked difficult questions about your topical chemotherapy treatment?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.