A cancer cream? - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

A cancer cream?

Each year, more than a million Americans develop the most common type of cancer -- Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Basal cell won't become a deadly Melanoma, but those who have it are at a higher risk for Melanoma.

Often basal cell appears on the face.

If it's caught early enough, a doctor may simply scrape it away, freeze it or burn it off with a laser.

In some cases, surgery may be required, but often these methods leave scars behind.

Jim Gottron noticed the red patch on his nose for months before he saw a doctor about it.

It was a basal cell and Jim required surgery. They removed the top of his nose.

"I went in four days later and they took this piece off my forehead and dropped it onto my nose," Jim says.

He's not a vain man, so he didn't mind the fact that it looked like a chunk of meat stuck on his nose.

He explained the reason to those who asked, but he can understand why some people would want to hide away in their home.

It took two years and several more surgeries for his face to look like it does now.

Seventy-five-year-old Mary Umek's doctor told her she needed the same type of surgery as Jim's.

"She told me I had 100 percent skin cancer and I have to be operated on as soon as possible, immediately," Mary says.

For nearly a decade Mary thought the red patch on her nose was Rosacea.

Mary wasn't thrilled about the surgery option so she sought a second opinion with Doctor Lydia Parker, a dermatologist, who told her about a cancer killing cream called Aldara.

It's not new, but many patients aren't aware that it's available.

"Basal cell skin cancer in particular has other options. If the skin cancer's not too deep and not in a high risk area it may do fine with just scraping it off or many patients today are favoring treatment with Aldara cream," Dr. Parker says.

Aldara cream is used to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma, actinic keratosis and external genital warts.

Relating to basal cell skin cancer, the cream activates the body's immune system to fight the cancer.

Mary used the Aldara cream for six weeks.

During that time she watched the cancer on her nose sort of erupt, turn red and blister and then scab and clear up.

Dr. Parker says, "90 percent of the time the skin cancer is completely gone and most of the time there's no scar."

"I really think it works and it is great," Mary agreed.

Dr. Parker says the cream does nothing to healthy skin.

When Jim battled skin cancer a second time, he opted for the cream.

"I had a large area right between my eyes and it was probably a quarter inch deep and it was pretty bad and it's cleared right up."

The treatment is not for everyone and is only advised for people with healthy immune systems and no other health issues.

It also requires a six-week commitment and during that time the cancer will become more noticeable.

Mary and Jim say it was worth the wait.

In some cases where the cream has not removed the cancer, it has shrunk the tumor so less surgery is required.

Aldara cream is not approved for Melanoma.

Talk to your doctor to determine if the cream may be an option for you.

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