Efudex Cream or generic Fluorouracil is a topical anti-neoplastic medication your doctor can prescribe to treat low-risk types of skin cancer early, such as basil cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and for actinic keratosis (AK) as it is considered a precancerous skin condition. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Early detection is the difference between applying Efudex Cream as directed and/or undergoing surgical removal while the lesion is small, or more extensive procedures that involve radiation, cryosurgery, or laser surgery to name a few. Any unusual looking lumps, bumps, scaly sores, and patches growing on your skin should be seen by your doctor.
When applied as directed, Efudex Cream works as a cytotoxic antimetabolite. Once it has been absorbed into your skin cells the active ingredient, Fluorouracil, is incorporated into the cancer cell’s DNA or RNA. This genetic material is essential for the cells to grow, multiply, and repair themselves. By interfering with the cancer cells in this way, their growth is unstable and the cells die. The treated skin area may become red, scaly, and painful, but this is normal as the growth shrinks and new skin cells form to take its place.
Most skin cancers or pre-cancerous lesions do not just appear one day out of nowhere. They are usually the result of accumulative exposure to sunlight or extensive use of tanning beds. Remember all the sunburns you had as a kid or young adult? Are you fair-skinned? Checking your body for odd patches of scaly skin or growths on parts of your body most exposed to sunlight, like your scalp, face, arms, back, and legs, should be done several times a year. Wear protective clothing, sunscreen, hat, or whatever it takes to avoid over-exposure to the dangers of UVA and UVB rays.
Ask your doctor if Efudex Cream is safe to apply if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Explain other medical conditions or allergies to your doctor and list all Rx meds you currently take or use as well as over-the-counter meds, herbal remedies, and dietary or vitamin supplements to help your doctor determine if Efudex Cream is safe for you to apply.
You should not apply Efudex Cream to areas of broken skin as the ingredients could enter your bloodstream and cause more serious side effects. Do not apply to anyone under 18 years old and never share Efudex Cream or any medications with others. Keep all medicinal products out of children’s reach.
If you also use other creams, lotions, or face make-up, apply Efudex Cream first and allow it to be absorbed before you apply other products. Be patient! Treatment can take a few months before you or others notice any positive changes and improvements.