Cream That Does The Body Good: A New Treatment For Skin Cancer

Cancer is one of the more feared diseases known to man, and skin cancer is especially worrisome for most people; 1 in 5 Americans will contract it in their lifetime, and a whole subset of the health and wellness industry is devoted to checking moles, developing better sunscreens, and studying the link between skin cancer and UV radiation. But science marches on as the years go by and new treatments for all conditions – including skin cancer – become available. So if you're interested in the newest advancement in skin cancer treatment medication, then here's what you need to know.

It's a Topical Treatment

Unlike most cancer treatments, which are generally a mix of radiation therapy and a smorgasbord of pills to be taken multiple times a day, this new treatment is the most non-invasive option that doctors have: a topical cream. The cream is applied directly on the legions on the skin – this treatment so far only works on pre-cancerous (but leaning cancerous) areas; see below – and is absorbed into the skin quickly, starting the healing process immediately (unlike pill-form treatments, which can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour to fully begin working).

It's Built on Other Treatments

Often the genius of doctors and scientists in dermatology leads to new developments are based on the work of doctors and scientists before them, and this new treatment is no exception. It basically combines two different topical meds – a cream version of the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil which has been approved in the past to work on these pre-cancerous legions (which are called actinic keratosis) and a special synthetic form of plain old Vitamin D called calcipotriol, which is generally used for treating psoriasis (an autoimmune disease that makes red, scaly, itchy patches appear on your skin).

It's Not a Perfect Treatment

Since the treatment of these combined medications is quite new, it's understandable that the treatment hasn't been perfected yet. As mentioned above, this treatment isn't good for full blown skin cancer, but is rather used to treat pre-cancerous legions on the skin that are likely to turn into skin cancer at a later (but not long-off) date. The side effects of having your actinic keratosis treated with 5-fluorouracil and calcipotriol have usually included red, itchy patches of skin that is sometimes accompanied by a slight burning sensation (which is indicative of an autoimmune response helping to kill the potentially cancerous legions).