Skin cancer

A place for people affected by any type of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

Aldara cream

Was a redhead
Posted by

Has anyone been prescribed aldara cream ? I've only used it for 2 weeks but had to stop as the whole of my chest has flared up and is sore oozing and blustering.  I'm not sure if this is a normal reaction. It only started as a really small spot on the right side of my chest. My Dr did not seem to know about the effects of aldara and I had to ask him to refer me back to dermatology consultant.  The consultant at the time never mentioned this horrific effect and didn't want to see me for 4 months. I would have thought they would want to see me during treatment. Now I've got to wait for another appointment.  Anyone else experienced this???

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi  and welcome to the skin cancer forum

I haven't used Aldara cream myself but I'm tagging  into my reply to you as she was discussing her experience of this a month ago and will hopefully reply. 

You might be interested in this page on topical chemotherapy for skin cancer. It does say that the treatment should make the skin red and inflamed and that once the area becomes sore and weepy the treatment will be stopped. Obviously have a read of this yourself as I'm not medically qualified but it does sound like what is happening to you is what is supposed to happen and not a side effect. Were you given any written instructions on how long to apply it for and when to stop?

I'm not sure how quickly you'll get an appointment so it might be an idea to ring your skin cancer treatment team at the hospital and ask to speak to the skin cancer specialist nurse to ask what you should do. Alternatively, you could ring the Macmillan Support Line and speak to what of the nurses. It's free to call and is available 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday.

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

Was a redhead
Posted by

Thank you for your prompt reply. I was instructed to use it once a day at night for 5 days rest for 2 days then start again for 6 weeks. I left it on the stated 8 hours and washed it off with mild soap every morning. But like I said after the first week my whole chest erupted.I will follow your advice and ring the dermatologist and demand to speak to someone. As when I did try calling before the receptionist just fobbed me off to say I would need to make another appointment with my Dr for another referal. Think I need to be a bit more firm. Thank you again. Xx

suelynne
Posted by

Hi

I have used Aldara a few years ago. My dermatologist recommended it as I had a pre cancerous place on my chest. It just looked slightly scaly but I had not even noticed it as I had also another place on my nose. I used Aldara as directed and low and behold a had about 3 places erupt. They too were very sore turned scabby and did weep. I can’t remember exactly how long it took but i continued as directed. It eventually healed although the skin was rather pink for a while. 

The outcome was that it completely cured the cancerous cells and it is completely clear now.

I hope this will reassure you

Good luck Suelynne 

Was a redhead
Posted by

Thank you suelynne, you have put my mind at rest. Hopefully when the rest of my skin heals they dermatologist may get me to finish the course of aldara. I just hope it doesn't  erupt again. It's so big and unsightly across my chest at the minute I look as though I've been burned by a blow torch. No scrappy tops for me for a while. Thanks again I do feel more positive now.

toxophilite
Posted by

I had Aldara a couple of times a few years ago. I was rather taken aback to read in the leaflet that the area of application should become inflamed enough to see from across the room!!

I was very careful to avoid any contact with surrounding areas, and did manage to avoid too much collateral damage. I did notice that any freckles it came in contact with erupted as well.

Rather than wash it off directly, it might be an idea to use baby wipes or similar to remove as much as possible first, to avoid contact with surrounding skin.

A friend of mine was given it for a bcc on her forehead - she had the reaction you describe. However, she had a rather misspent youth in the sun down under, and there may have been a lot more bcc there than they realised.

I was also given some other ointment for the 2 days off, which helped the skin to heal, but can't remember what it was. Also for use for a few weeks after.

The stuff does work, and avoids the stress of surgery.

Good luck, and keep us posted!!

xx

Karen

suelynne
Posted by

Hi I remember having to wear higher round neck tops! The trouble is we all need more explanation about what to expect. 

 Take care

Suelynne 

Camelia123
Posted by

I used Aldara last year  to treat actinic keratosis on my face. 5 nights application followed by 2 nights rest for 6 weeks. Was reviewed by dermatologist at 3 weeks who said the treatment was going well but had a massive reaction after 4 weeks. Swelling, red lumps and areas of black ulceration. It seemed to have made holes in my face! No oozing but one area started bleeding. Contacted the dermatologist who saw me that day and told me to stop using the cream and to treat affected areas with swabs soaked in salt water. Saw him again the next week to check it was healing. Took a while to heal but no scarring and skin is soft and smooth. People tell me I look 10years younger and ask what I have used!!!! Horrific at the time and I gather I had an extreme reaction but well worth it. 

My understanding of this treatment is that it needs to be done under close medical supervision. Was told to treat the cream like gold dust and use only use a tiny amount. Was also warned that an extreme reaction was possible or alternatively no reaction at all. 

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi  

I see that you've had lots of advice from people who have used this cream before so hopefully you feel more comfortable about what's happened. 

Do you have a contact number at the hospital to ring if you need to ask questions rather than ringing reception? I would have thought that you would have been given a point of contact in case of queries. If not, try asking to speak to a skin cancer nurse specialist when you phone as he or she should be able to answer your questions.

If you're unable to speak to someone at the hospital tomorrow you could phone the Macmillan Support Line on the number below. It's free to call and staffed by trained experts who should be able to advise you.

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

Was a redhead
Posted by

Hi, no they never gave me any number to ring I was just told they would send for me in 4 months. The antibiotics I'm taking are doing their job and my skin is now a mass of scabs. Hopefully I have lovely new skin underneath that has not scarred . I'm going to take your advice and ask to speak to cancer specialist about the cream as I'm not sure if I should re start the aldara. 

latchbrook
Posted by

I'm glad to hear that the antibiotics seems to be doing their job .

Let us know how you get on with the cancer specialist.

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

Was a redhead
Posted by

Thanks camelia 123, wish the hospital had given me a contact number or a 3 week check up but never mind hopefully I will be able to speak or see someone tomorrow. They don't tell you what to expect but hearing stories from you and others I realised this is a normal reaction people get. I'm glad you got yours sorted and having it on your face must have been an horrific experience.I shouldn't moan having it over my chest it really puts things into perspective.  Thank again for your reply I'm feeling very positive now.

Camelia123
Posted by

Glad you are feeling more positive and I hope you get to talk to someone soon. Try not to pick at the scabs.  I was told to leave them alone so as to prevent infection and also scarring. I found soaking them with cold salty water was very soothing and helped them fall off naturally. 

Was a redhead
Posted by

Thanks latchbrook I will do. X

Was a redhead
Posted by

Errrr I've picked a little I'm afraid but promise I will stop doing that and try the salty water soak. Was going to use bio oil as soon as scabs come off. Think I'm too impatient.  X