Topical precancer treatment
When skin cancer or precancer is diagnosed early, there are many more options for treatment available. Many times, these treatments will also be less or noninvasive, such as with topical and oral precancer and cancer creams and gels. Laser therapy is also sometimes considered a topical treatment. At Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera, Tracy Evans, M.D. provides several of these treatments for patients diagnosed with precancerous skin lesions (actinic keratosis), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), or basal cell carcinoma (BCC). If you are interested in whether a topical, oral, or laser skin cancer treatment could work for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Evans at her Corte Madera, CA office.
"Friendly, efficient and competent! I have been coming here for 3 years and have had serious dermatologic work and diagnostics and a cosmetic procedure . I have every confidence in the expertise of Dr.Evans and her staff."- C.M. / Google / Nov 11, 2020
"Friendly, efficient and competent! I have been coming here for 3 years and have had serious dermatologic work and a cosmetic procedure. I have every confidence in the expertise of Dr.Evans and her staff."- C.M. / Google / Nov 03, 2020
"I highly, highly recommend Dr. Evans as a doctor for skin cancer. She really knows her stuff and is trained in Mohs surgery (not many dermatologists are!). I really appreciate that she uses the latest technology to keep track of any spots on your skin and has a suspicious eye. I have had doctors in the past who did a quick skin check and literally missed the mark. I can’t really speak to the more cosmetic aspects of her practice, but I do not like how products are offered to me at the end of my appointment. Without being upfront about their cost or the fact that products are not returnable, Dr Evans’ assistant will present the products she recommends I purchase at the end of my appointment. (There is a small sign by the register about the return policy.) I know that these are vetted products and they must help her practice thrive, but I wish I could be offered either a drugstore alternative or a pharmacy prescription option. I’m sure the cost is not an issue for many of her patients, but it is for me and I am simply not able to do what she recommends as far as products are concerned. However, I find her to be so incredibly smart and trustworthy when it comes to skin cancer that I can simply overlook this part of the appointment."- E.R. / Yelp / Aug 18, 2020
"Today was my first time visiting Pacific Skin in Corte Madera. From the moment I arrived, it was an experience of friendliness and professionalism...both of the receptionists welcomed me so kindly, the medical assistant was very pleasant...and when Krystal Shin, my dermatologist came in, I felt I was in the BEST hands. She was so kind, informative, and professional. Even though I wasn’t feeling the best, they made me comfortable and confident that I would be just fine. I am so happy I found Pacific Skin. Thank you for a great experience!"- C.C. / Yelp / Jun 29, 2020
"An amazing staff working with a cutting edge doctor make up this team of talented artists. I feel lucky to be a client each time."- M.D. / Google / May 29, 2020
Topical, oral, and laser treatments for skin cancer and precancer are effective in disrupting and killing the target cells in the top-most layers of your skin. Certain patients who have been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, or actinic keratosis may be good candidates for one or a combination of these treatments. This will depend on many factors, including things like the site and size of the cancer and the specific medical and pathological diagnosis you are given by Dr. Evans.
Some of the treatments are not suitable for pregnant or nursing women, and some may have ingredients that could produce allergic reactions. It is very important to be fully open about your medical history during your consultation with Dr. Evans. Topical, oral, and laser treatments are not typically effective for aggressive skin cancers or for cancer that is deeply rooted.
Depending on your diagnosis and care plan, you will likely use your topical or oral treatment at home on your own. The treatments differ in doses, application frequency, duration, and possible side effects, though any side effects will be mild. Some treatments may be used twice a day for a few months while others might be used once a day for a shorter duration.
During this period, your treated skin will likely be red and a little sore because the medication will be destroying the precancerous and cancerous skin cells. Throughout your treatment, you will have follow-up visits with Dr. Evans so she can monitor your therapy. She will need to watch for any concerning reactions so she can modify your treatment if needed. She will also be actively adjusting the length of the therapy based on your progress.
Patients undergoing laser treatment will usually need to have 3 – 5 sessions for the best results. There might be mild swelling, itching, or discomfort for about a week after each treatment, and treatments need to be spaced 5 – 6 weeks apart.
What to Expect
During and after your topical, oral, or laser treatment process, it is very important that you follow Dr. Evans's instructions for skin care. She will give you recommendations for appropriate moisturizers that can be used, as well as for tips and products you can apply to help your skin heal. The most crucial rules for caring for your skin are to avoid unnecessary sun exposure and to diligently and consistently use sun protection, including sunscreen and protective clothing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do topical and oral treatments cost?
It is difficult to estimate how much a treatment plan, including topical or oral medications for skin cancer, might cost without a thorough exam and diagnosis by Dr. Evans. It will depend on the type and size of the lesion(s), as well as the duration of the treatments and whether Dr. Evans prescribes one or more, such as a combination of laser therapy and topical or oral medication. This will all be discussed during your consultation. Skin cancer and precancer are considered medical conditions so it is likely that your insurance will cover or partially cover your treatment.
Which topical and oral skin cancer treatments are available at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology?
At Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera, Dr. Evans uses Aldara, Picato, Efudex, and Erivedge, as well as laser therapy for certain patients diagnosed with skin cancer or precancer. Aldara, Picato, and Efudex are topical creams, solutions, and gels. Erivedge is an oral medication. Each of these will have different dosing and application regimens, depending on your diagnosis from Dr. Evans.
How do topical and oral treatments work?
It is not fully known exactly how or why these treatments are effective. It is believed that some of them work by manipulating your immune system, such as to trigger a cell turnover response or to actually attack and kill the cancerous cells. Some may work by disrupting or inhibiting the metabolic process within the cancer cells or the signal transmitters among the cells.
How fast will the cancer go away?
The time it will take for each of these treatments to reduce or remove the skin cancer or precancer lesions will vary from patient to patient and from treatment to treatment. Each one has different usage regimens and dosing requirements that will be different for every case. During your consultation with Dr. Evans, if she determines that you are a candidate for topical or oral treatment, she will be able to talk to you about the estimated duration.
Am I a candidate for topical skin cancer treatment?
If you have an aggressive skin cancer, melanoma, or cancer that has spread too deeply into the epidermis, these treatments probably will not be effective for you. However, there are other treatments available at Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology Corte Madera, and Dr. Evans is a board-certified dermatologist, a skin cancer specialist, and a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon. During your consultation, she will examine your areas of concern and discuss your best treatment options.
A New Way to Treat Cancer
The earlier skin cancer or precancer is detected, the more and better options you have for full and successful treatment, including options as noninvasive as topical creams, oral medications, and laser therapy. Whether or not you have already had a diagnosis, contact Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology in Marin for a consultation with Dr. Tracy Evans. She has the experience and skill to determine the best treatment for your case.