Spot Treatments: Easing into Efudex
If my guess is correct, you are here because your dermatologist has used the “E” word. And if you have researched Efudex for any length of time, chances are high you are now petrified about your pending treatment and have many more questions than answers. Truth be told, no two patients respond exactly the same way to the cream and you should not let photos and testimonies scare you away from a treatment that can have a positive impact on your skin in the long run.
Treatment for large areas vs. small ones
Keep in mind as you continue your search-and I know you will-you are likely seeing more pictures of large treatment areas than small ones. Also keep in mind that treating large areas such as the entire face, your chest, legs, or arms will yield vastly different results in terms of side effects than spot treating small, more contained areas. As with any treatment prescribed by a physician, it is important to discuss the options and weigh the pros and cons with your doctor before beginning application.
Efudex spot treatments
Spot treating with Efudex, for me, is a completely different animal than treating large areas. I have treated my face and my chest and, having done so, found that I much prefer spot treating. Treating large areas does rid my skin of multiple precancerous spots at once, but the side effects make for one rough ride. Side effects such as nausea, fatigue, itching, burning, and generally feeling rundown and emotionally drained are magnified when I apply the cream to large areas twice a day over a three to four week period.
When possible and given the go-ahead from my dermatologist, I opt to treat small areas no larger than a half-dollar. In certain instances, I apply the cream to an area roughly twice that size in both length and width. While sticking to a pinpointed area, twice a day, I apply the specified thin layer of cream after I cleanse the area and allow it to dry. Whether the treated area is on my face, chest, or back, I can move about more freely and avoid the discomfort of struggling to eat and the frustration of having fabric rub against irritated and, sometimes, raw skin.
Minimizing side effects
In addition to allowing me to move about more freely, applying Efudex in smaller areas seems to cut down on the number and intensity of side effects I typically experience. The nausea I usually battle is reason enough for me to opt for spot treatments. I can’t say that I never experience a sick feeling while spot treating, but I can say without a doubt that I do not feel sick for weeks on end while coping with appetite loss.
Easing in to Efudex treatmentEasing into Efudex, with your doctor’s advice, is a good way to steel yourself for what may be down the road-many skin cancer patients are repeat users of Efudex. Not every patient is required to treat large areas at once, but spot treating will give you an idea of what to expect on a larger scale if your turn comes. Don’t wear yourself out perusing Google images for Efudex photos. Take one step at a time. Talk with your doctor, voice your concerns, and find out if spot treating is the right path for you.
How often do you speak to your family members about skin cancer?