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Posts Tagged ‘Fluorouracil’

Did you know Elisabeth Taylor had a Basal Cell Carcinoma? …

January 9, 2012 5 comments

… She had one removed from her cheek in 2002 apparently, as I discovered today.  Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) doesn’t discriminate: whoever you are, whatever your background, it can take hold if you’re not careful in the sun!

And, did you know that George Bush Senior used Efudex to treat pre-cancerous growths? I didn’t but the photo below allegedly shows the effect it had on his face. Just goes to show how extreme the effects of this treatment can be! Poor man.  I’m glad I didn’t have to go out in public looking like that as the skin on my nose never got quite that bad; a bit crusty in places yes but not quite as ‘angry’ looking as this.

Efudix and George Bush

Efudix takes hold on George Bush Senior's face.

Having gone through Efudix treatment, and come out the other end, has made me very reflective and driven my desire to find out as much as I can about Basal Cell Carcinoma, its causes and treatments.  And, in doing so, I came across this presentation which gives a good overview of the condition and talks about the different types of BCC. Worth a look.  Also, I’ve found this video showing the Mohs micro-graphic procedure being undertaken on a patient’s face. Not for the squeamish but lets you see in detail what the procedure entails. I had my BCC removed by Mohs and it helped (after the event, it must be said. I don’t think I could have gone through with the op if I’d seen this beforehand!) to understand how the specialist who performed my procedure was able to ascertain quite how much skin and tissue to cut out. A rather scientific and seemingly accurate process for ascertaining the degree of spread of a Basal Cell Carcinoma.

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Basal Cell Carcinoma and Efudix – what I’ve learnt …

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Not much change in terms of the appearance of my nose since my last post – still a little pink (and more obvious if I’m hot) but, not much to write home about. It’s clearly now just a matter of waiting – I’ve got sensitive skin at the best of times and the skin on my poor ‘ole nose has had quite an assault of late so it’s no wonder it’s taking a while to calm down.  Patience is clearly the key. The main thing is, my treatment is over and I’m well on the road to recovery.

It’s been quite a journey and I’ve learnt a number of things along the way:

  1. Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer
  2. It’s considered malignant despite the fact that it rarely metastatises or results in death
  3. Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of cancer in Europe,  Australia and USA
  4. Around 3 out of 10 Caucasians develop Basal Cell Carcinoma in their lifetime. That’s quite a statistic!
  5. Instances of Basal Cell Carcinoma are on the increase in the UK – despite increased sun awareness?!  Let’s not forget that basal cells are very slow growing and occurence could be linked to a sun burn in childhood
  6. Sun bed users are 70% more likely to develop a Basal Cell Carcinoma before the age of 40.  If that’s not a reason to stop using sunbeds, I don’t know what is!  There are some fabulous fake tan products out now if a tan is your thing
  7. There are a number of potential treatments for Basal Cell Carcinoma including excision, Mohs micrographic surgery, electrodesication, cryosurgery, radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy and ‘topical treatment’ with Fluorouracil!
  8. Fluorouracil comes in many guises (it has a number of different brand names): Efudix, Efudex (the cause of much confusion on my part when I first started this blog!), Carac and Fluoroplex.
  9. Fluorouracil is used to treat actinic/solar keratoses (a pre-malignant skin condition) as well as Basal Cell Carcinoma.

    10. Whilst the effects of Efudix treatment aren’t particularly pleasant, they’re not necessarily totally unbearable. As I’ve said all along, I count myself lucky that I haven’t had to treat my entire face with Efudex and that the effects were manageable.

I guess the main lesson I take away from this whole journey is that Efudix is prescribed for a reason and however unpleasant the treatment is, it’s better than the alternative. So, if it’s been prescribed to you, do the sensible thing and start applying it today.  Good luck with your journey!

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Day 28 – what a difference a couple of days make!

December 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Skin effects after 28 days of Efudix treatment

The wonders of Efudix!

Well, a couple of days really does make a difference when it comes to Efudix – how much better does my nose look compared to my last post!  Only a very small amount of scabbing on the bridge of my nose now and it’s more pink rather than scarey red, which I can deal with.  The Efudix has clearly really dried the skin on my nose so I’m still plastering on the Vaseline.

And my Basal Cell Carcinoma scar is healing pretty well also which is good news.  I’m still massaging it daily as advised.  Not sure how long I’m supposed to continue doing so but, will continue until it appears to make no difference. I’m just amazed how well it’s doing considering the size of the wound I had immediately after the operation.  Just thinking back to those early days reminds me how far I’ve come and how well it’s healed. Happy days …

Day 25 – 4 days after Efudix

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment
25 days of Efudix treatment

Further recovery after 4 days

Well, whilst my nose still looks hideously red, the scabbing is clearly reducing and my nose is slowly getting back to ‘normal’.  Looks like the Efudix is finally starting to lose its hold – its done its job and it’s now time to heal, hoorah!

 

Day 24 – my first smile after Efudix treatment!

December 6, 2011 1 comment
3 days after completing Efuex treatment

3 days after completing Efudix treatment and my first smile!

Three days after completing my Efudix treatment and feel that am finally reaching the end of my Basal Cell Carcinoma journey.  A little less scabbing again today – yipee!

I think I said earlier on in this blog that I dislike having my photo taken at the best of times, so really have not enjoyed the daily Efudix photo session. But, I’m glad I’ve endured it because it’s good to look back and see the day-to-day changes – just seeing the difference today compared to two days ago helps to reinforce how my nose is improving and helps me stay positive.  And, I actually found myself smiling whilst Dave was pointing the camera at me today!  Apparently, the Vaseline helps soothe the skin and aids recovery so I’m slapping it on.

Day 23 – first signs of recovery following Efudix treatment?

December 6, 2011 13 comments
Day 2 after ending Efudix treatment

First signs of recovery?

So, two days after completing Efudix treatment and do I see the first signs of recovery?  I seem to have lost a little of the horrible yellow scabbing and am hopefully on my way to looking a little less like a scarey Halloween mask!  Still managing to use make-up to cover up but tends to clog pretty unattractively on the Vaseline.

Day 22 – 1st day after completion of Efudix treatment

December 5, 2011 1 comment

1st day after completion of Efudix treatment

First Efudix update for 2 weeks. Had a minor, unrelated op (removal of a milk duct – due to Duct Ectasia, a benign condition of ageing!) so have been focussing on that more than my nose recently. Continued with daily photo session to track the progress of the Efudex treatment so now picking back up where I left off …

A great relief not having to apply the Fluorouracil cream today, but simply replacing one routine with another – now have to apply Vaseline to the treated area daily.  I think the Vaseline makes the Efudix effects look even more startling because it really makes my nose shine. It’s clear from the above picture just how much of my nose was sun damaged – there are very few white patches indicating areas where the Efudix had nothing to attack. This just goes to highlight even more why the Efudex treatment was the right thing to do.  So now it’s just a waiting game to see quite how long it’ll take for my nose to resume it’s normal appearance ..

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