Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

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Optimist15 Optimist15
(Inactive)

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by Optimist15 on Sat Feb 09, 2019 08:05 PM

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On Feb 08, 2019 4:14 AM redintheface wrote:

Welcome to CancerCompass. Fluorouracil (less expensive, but still expensive) is the generic for Efudex. Both are equally effective. I've gone through this treatment many times using both at different times. I've had to use both on my entire face as well as ears. Nothing has ever shown on my ears. Are you male and is it on your left ear? The reason I ask is men are more likely to get it on their ears (due to short hair) and the left side is where it's usually the worst, due to driving in cars. If you have it on your ear I wonder why your doctor isn't having you treat your face too as it doesn't have to be seen to be there. As I advise anyone when you begin treatment stay out of the sun as the sun increases the effect of the cream. You don't want that. Reaction time all depends on your skin, but you might go a week without noticing anything. The second week you'll probably start seeing redness in your skin, like a sunburn. This cream only effects the actinic keratosis and pre cancer, it doesn't effect healthy skin.  Don't let any of cream accumulate in the creases of your ear, rub it in well. You can do a Google search "images of Efudex treatments" and you'll see varying degrees of treatment. Some of them are quite scary looking, but in the end you'll have new healthy skin.

Good luck to you.

I believe the above was directed to me.

I'm female and it is my left ear. It's been red and flaky on and off for years. I've been to three dermatologists and two ENTs, all with different theories about what's going on. I want answers, not guesses. 

I agreed to try the Fluorouracil to prove or disprove the most recent theory. It's chemotherapy that damages healthy skin cells while destroying cancerous cells. This is why much larger areas than suspected patches turn red and painful during the treatment. I haven't seen one post stating the cream only interacted with the actual (pre)cancerous sites that blister and ooze. The entire face is red, tight and iritated, but not because every portion of the face has (pre)cancerous cells.

What often happens is people hear cancer and panic. Fear quiets the logical part of their mind and they're willing to do whatever the doctor says. "This process is so difficult/awful to complete it must be working." I'm not that kind of patient. I question everything a doctor tells me and since my ear might be affected I'll try this treatment.

Why have you done this treatment "several times." And if your ears weren't affected, why would you do them again? Has no other treatment been considered? 

I've tried fluorouracil on suspicious areas on my face before. There's never been a reaction and now several days in, my ear looks the same. That's why I asked when I should see a difference, if there's going to be one. Without some indication it's doing something, continuing it beyond two weeks seems a waste of time, and only means something else is going on, so let's move on and figure it out. Ruling out a condition is almost as important at correctly diagnosing one.

I didn't come here to be difficult. Having a place to ask questions of those with experience helps us understand more about the process. We're all grateful for that. For me, I don't just want to know the "how" I want to know the "why."

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by redintheface on Sat Feb 09, 2019 09:45 PM

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It's bewildering that you've been to not just the two ENT's, but also 3 dermatologists and not one of them has done a biopsy to get to the bottom of what it is. When a doctor "thinks" to the best of their experience, I believe they try the easiest which is the cream. They can freeze what they see, but then you risk a scar on your face, but at the same time if it's not biopsied the evidence is destroyed and they don't know for a fact what it really was because it's gone. I'm beginning to lose track how many times I've used both Efudex and Fluorouracil (at different times) but with each treatment there is less and less redness, pain, and erosion. Last year, 2018 I was thrilled with how little there was, but at the same time there was still some in smaller areas. My doctor told me it only gets about 70% at a time. Damage happens over years and years of sun exposure so one can't expect it to be eraticated in 4 to 6 weeks. For myself it's become less painful. Pain is not an indicator that somethings working/curing you. Pain is damaging stimuli. Many people who have had or have cancer said they didn't know they had cancer, until damage was done. I am like you also, I question everything, doctors even moreso. When they prescribe a medicine they tell you this will make you feel better, but what they don't tell you is taking this medicine you're running the risk of getting another condition from the medicine. Sorry about saying ears, I used it this last treatment only, just to make sure none of the actinic keratosis was on them too. No reaction to either ear. I have always applied the cream to all skin (except the eye orbit) up to my hair line (no eyebrow or lips) and have not always had a reaction to all skin areas. Each time it's less and less. If you're going to go ahead with this treatment to see if the doctor is right I'd suggest you apply it exactly as told and for the full time also. It might take your skin longer than the two weeks to react. If you get no reaction you and the doctor will eliminate actinic keratosis and pre cancer and go from there. I'm sure you've probably searched online as to what actinic keratosis looks like as well as pre cancer and basal cancers look like. You can also see other personal stories and pictures. Doctors try to educate people how to identify what skin cancer looks like you can see that online too. You probably know there's always a "but" to something. I've seen many pictures and read the literature on identifying skin cancer. I had basal cell cancer (thigh) and it didn't fit the ABCD rules, any of the pictures, or things I've learned. So much for the rules. My doctor did say if you have to get skin cancer basal is the easiest to cure.

You can also call the manufacturer, however, their answers will be very vague. I asked if anything (cream) for pain can be used, can make up be worn, and can sunscreen be used. The answer was, " they do not test those things."

This is a selective cream that attacks only pre-cancers and early basal cell cancers. Efudex acts like a private detective in that you treat an entire area and it selectively finds the damaged areas and treats them. If there is no skin damage, there is no reaction and no redness or irritation. If however, there is even invisible damage, it highlights these areas and treats them.

I only suggest you give the treatment the full amount of time to work, whatever your doctor told you.

Good luck to you.......

Optimist15 Optimist15
(Inactive)

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by Optimist15 on Fri Mar 01, 2019 02:58 AM

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Follow-up: No effect. My ear is still red (the reason given for the treatment), but the fluorouracil didn't "find" anything. 

Just wanted to say goodbye and good luck to everyone.

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by redintheface on Fri Mar 01, 2019 03:25 AM

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Congratulations to you. 

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by Anianna on Fri Mar 01, 2019 03:32 AM

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On Mar 01, 2019 2:58 AM Optimist15 wrote:

Follow-up: No effect. My ear is still red (the reason given for the treatment), but the fluorouracil didn't "find" anything. 

Just wanted to say goodbye and good luck to everyone.

I hope you find the answer.  Good luck.

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by CandyTex on Sat Mar 02, 2019 05:14 PM

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Hi everyone,

I am new to this discussion group but so happy to have found you all. Yup, fair hair/skin did me and years in the sun...lots of sunburn. But then it was called radiant..haha!

After two Mohs surgeries for basal cell and then squamous cell cancers, my Dr. prescribed treatment of Efudex/Dovonex lotion application...5 days to 10 days, depending on how I react. This is applied on whole face keeping eye zone and lips free of lotion.

I'm on day 2 and so far just a slight tightening of the skin on face. I know the worst is yet to come.

Just curious if anyone of you in this discussion have used this combined treatment which is supposed to provide more effective results per recent medical studies.

Thanks for everyone's support!

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by redintheface on Sat Mar 02, 2019 05:38 PM

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Welcome to our group. I've never used this combination of the two and I don't believe I've read of anyone using it here. Some fast searches I found some information which I will be discussing with my dermatologist. 

https://www.mdedge.com/dermatology/article/109517/actinic-ke

Good luck to you

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by CandyTex on Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:21 PM

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On Mar 02, 2019 5:38 PM redintheface wrote:

Welcome to our group. I've never used this combination of the two and I don't believe I've read of anyone using it here. Some fast searches I found some information which I will be discussing with my dermatologist. 

https://www.mdedge.com/dermatology/article/109517/actinic-ke ratosis/adding-calcipotriene-5-fu-dramatically-reduced-aks"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.mdedge.com/dermatology/article/109517/actinic-ke target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.mdedge.com/dermatology/article/109517/actinic-ke

Good luck to you

Thanks for sending me the article...

Here' another link based on that same study:

https://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/home/cancer-types/skin-

I'd be interested in learning what your dermatologist says about this treatment combination. Maybe this is a breakthrough that will help others.

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by redintheface on Sun Mar 03, 2019 02:56 AM

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I'm not planning on seeing my dermatologist soon, but one never knows. I will certainly be asking about the combination you're using though. Seems you're reacting quickly to the treatment being only two days in, but what I've learned it's fast acting. I'm sure others here will be anxious to know how you progress with treatment and what the end result will be. If you've never done any of the three common treatments you probably have nothing to compare it to, but if you keep all of us updated on a daily basis since it's so fast acting I know everyone will be interested in hearing how it's coming along. Did your doctor tell you what to expect and did he say anything about if there's no disease nothing will happen to healthy skin? All I've ever had is actinic keratosis nothing compared to what you've gone through. I will be thinking of you.

RE: Efudex or Carac or Fluorouracil

by Robincm on Tue Mar 12, 2019 02:10 PM

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Hi CandyTex,

Please can you update us on your experience/progress with the combination treatment. There is so little information by anyone who has actually tried it.

It would be great to find something less painful & agressive than Efudex on its own. 

I have also used Picato® (ingenol mebutate) but that is also very agressive but at least it is for a shorter time.

Best regards, Robin

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