Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cranky again. Efudix time.

Cranky again, day after day. But in just one more week things should improve. Really looking forward to that improvement.

It is just the area where the collar and neckline
let the light hit my skin.
In a hot climate a little space around the neck feels cooler.
I have been using Efudix again, treating more sunspots. I went to a new skin specialist. She comes to town every few months, and was recommended to me by one of the local doctors. I do not think she is quite as good as he thinks she is. But anyway, I am following her plan and treating one side of my upper chest first.

So her plan is to use Efudix once a day for one week, followed by twice a day for two weeks. I am now well into the third week.

Yes, I am a neat freak about some things. I drew a table on the computer and listed the areas needing treatment. The printout sits beside the bed with the tube of cream and the pen. No excuses. One tick in the box for each application of cream.

The Efudix melts during the night and spreads up the neck area as I lie in bed. You can see in this photo how it has spread beyond the area where I applied it. It is not my intention to treat the neck at this time. Each red dot is a sun spot. I counted 80 and then stopped. Red. Ugly. Sore. Ready to bite heads off. Taking painkillers. Gritting teeth. Looking forward to the end of the week.

You can see how normal clothing stops the sun from reaching the skin most of the time. And how the neckline lets some sunlight onto the skin.

Lucky me. I am to do the other side later in the year. And a few other areas too.

After your bath this evening spread some soft night cream on your d├ęcolletage and notice how lovely it feels. And in the day time, use some sunscreen or this horrible experience could be yours.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Thank you for Efudix Cream

Some of us have skin that responds to sunshine in nasty ways. Sun cancer, skin cancer. In our family we all have fair skin inherited from Celtic ancestry. And some other ancestry I guess. Not creamy skin that looks lovely; the other sort that ends up all speckled. We do not get melanomas thank goodness, but we get other skin problems. And lots of wrinkles.

Efudix cream is a wonderful invention. Is invention the correct word?

Here are some images and links about Efudix for those unfamiliar with it.

Efudix is a trade name. Sometimes the spelling is slightly different. Other brands exist using the same active ingredient.

This woman is using Efudix on her face to treat the sun cancers.
When I have done the whole face like this I felt sick.
Now I do just half the face one year and the other half the next year.
Efudix cream is a topical chemotherapy that is simple to use and removes solar keratoses. How does it work? It sort of burns the skin off, but it also treats much deeper in the skin. The active ingredient remains in the body for about three months. Our family uses it quite a lot.

I am proud to say I have just finished using Efudix on my left arm. I believe I have treated about three hundred solar keratoses this time. Hopefully most will be successful. I used the cream for two weeks, morning and evening. I stopped when I could not take any more and I thought the job was done. Now the dead crusts are falling off leaving red marks. Those marks will fade and my life will get better.

You can read her story on this site.
The treatments for skin cancers are much better now than they used to be. The research is making a huge difference. Thank you, thank you to the scientists who work in this field.

Is it all my fault? No. I do not play sport in the sun. I did as a child but I used protection even then. My mother brought home UV cream in the 1960s from the clinic in Brisbane. She insisted we use it. I do not sunbake or lounge around by the pool. I do not go fishing or go out on the water. My skin just reacts strongly to UV radiation.

Will I die from this? No. The type of keratoses and sun cancers in these pictures cause disfigurement not death. They can and frequently do trigger other cancers in the body. People die from those. This is not melanoma.

There are several other treatments for sun cancer that do not involve cutting lumps out and leaving horrible scars. A dermatologist is the person to ask about these. I have used other treatments.

Never simply treat sun cancers with something your friends talked about. Always get proper medical advice. Follow the instructions. If there is pain, get help.

Not my arm.
My arm was similar in the easy patches and worse in other areas.
It is the little exposures, like walking to get the mail every day, that in the end cause the worst damage. Use sun protection. Find a cream you can use every day that agrees with you. Every product does not suit every person. Wear a hat to protect the ears and scalp at least. Wear long sleeves and trousers whenever possible. You will be hot anyway, so it hardly matters. Be cautious around other sources of UV light.

I have written before about using Efudix, in July. Here is the link to that post.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Efudix cream happiness

I am in the middle of a love-hate relationship with Efudix cream. I love the result but hate the process. 

Every adult living in a sunny climate knows Efudix cream. It is used to treat mild sun cancers. It can be used for solar keratoses of course, but if you want to get rid of something worse then you use the cream twice a day for as many days as you can bear. Sometimes it is two weeks, sometimes longer. For more advanced sun cancers there are other treatments. Efudix is much better for me than liquid nitrogen or having excisions, although it takes longer. There is usually no scarring.

I have been treating just one side of my face and found that the area around my lips is sun-damaged. Sensitive, red, swollen area. I knew that the nose was crummy and an area on my cheek, but had not expected my lips to respond so loudly to the cream. Have even resorted to paracetamol. At the same time I am very bad tempered, probably a side effect of the cream.

Yes, the instructions say very clearly not to use Efudix on the lip area, but I do not want to lose my lips to skin cancer thank you very much. So of course I am doing this. There are no other choices.

I will now have to stop treating the lip zone and concentrate on my cheek and nose.

Thank you to my forebears for the skin type and for the need to live in a warm place. Tricky combination.

Test of character.