33MD for March 24, 2009

POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 7:35pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:58pm

You’ve heard it over and over again, too much sun is bad for you and could possible cause skin cancer. But new research shows there may be more to getting skin cancer than sunbathing. Scientists at New York University say when a particular gene variation is present and binds to estrogen; women under 50 are four times more prone to have melanoma. Experts say it could eventually provide doctors and patients with earlier detection than the more tell-tale signs of freckles and blisters.

And with Spring Break coming up, it’s a good time to talk about skin cancer. Treatment often involves surgery. But what if killing the cancer was as easy as rubbing on a cream? The first time Jim Grottan got skin cancer, doctors removed the top of his nose. “I want in four days later, and they took this piece off my forehead and dropped it onto my nose.” It took two years and several surgeries for his face to look like it does now. 75-year-old Mary Umek’s doctor told her she needed the same type of surgery. “She told me I had 100% skin cancer and I have to be operated on as soon as possible immediately.” Mary went for a second opinion with Lydia Parker who told her about a cancer killing cream.

Dr. Lydia Parker says, “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.” Mary used the Aldara cream for six weeks. During that time the cancer sort of erupts, turns reds, and then scabs over. “90% of the time the skin cancer is completely gone, and most of the time there is no scar.”

When Jim battled cancer a second time on his face, he opted for the cream too. “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 used in people with healthy immune systems. It also requires a six week commitment. In some cases, if the cream has not removed the cancer, it often shrinks it, so less surgery is required.

Aldara is not approved or Melanoma, but it is FDA approved for basal cell skin cancer. Talk to your doctor if you think it might be an option for you.