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Chemotherapy for Skin Cancer

Chemotherapy for skin cancer is usually applied directly to the skin as a cream or lotion. Patients who use it may find their skin turns red, itches, oozes, or develops a rash. It may also be sensitive to the sun. Chemotherapy for skin cancer is usually applied one or two times a day for several weeks. It generally does not leave a scar.

Chemotherapy for Skin Cancer: An Overview

Chemotherapy for skin cancer uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Topical chemotherapy treatment is when a drug is put directly on the skin. It is most often used when the skin cancer is too large for surgery, and it is also used when the doctor keeps finding new cancers.
 

Types of Chemotherapy for Skin Cancer

In most cases, the drugs used in chemotherapy for skin cancer come in a cream or lotion. Chemotherapy is usually applied to the skin one or two times a day for several weeks. A drug called fluorouracil (5-FU) is used to treat basal cell and squamous cell cancers that are only in the top layer of the skin. A drug called imiquimod is used to treat basal cell cancer that is only in the top layer of skin.
 

Side Effects of Chemotherapy for Skin Cancer

The chemotherapy for skin cancer may cause your skin to:
 
  • Turn red or swell
  • Itch, hurt, ooze, or develop a rash
  • Be sore or sensitive to the sun.
 
These skin changes usually go away after treatment is over. If healthy skin becomes too red or raw when the skin cancer is treated, your doctor may stop treatment. Topical chemotherapy for skin cancer usually does not leave a scar.
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