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    Old 03-27-2005, 11:22 AM   #1
    quincy
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    Unhappy EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    I have been diagnosed with precancerous skin on my face. I have to start using the Efudex (postponing till after Easter), and I really would like to know experiences of using it.

    I don't have to use it all over my face, just the area I've been told. The spot is about a half inch round, under my left eye just before the cheek beside my nose. But I'm told to use it from there, across my nose and to the same area under my right eye just before the cheek.

    I have to see the doctor at the 21 day mark. Picture him rubbing his hands together and saying "oooooooh, the worse it is, the more red, crusting...the better!!
    YIKES!!!



    What is the best way to apply it? How about washing my face before applying it? ANY info, tips...etc that you may not deem important will definitely be invaluable for me.

    I'm very stressed about starting this but the postponing is only adding to the distress and I've decided to start on Tuesday.

    Thanks soooo much for any replies. I really need the support on this.

    quincy
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    Old 04-04-2005, 09:15 PM   #2
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    I have been using efudex since November on several basal
    cell carcinomas and some actinic keratosis and seems to
    work well. I is just strange not knowing if if is all gone as with
    biopsy and excision. I have had a total of 31 BCC's removed
    since September and several others that I have used the Efudex on.
    Of course the Efudex leaves no scar like the excisions but still leaves
    me uncomfortable since I have been growing them like crazy. It seems
    that once they started removing them they have been multiplying.
    I have a few more new ones as we speak. It does worry me having
    so many that I could have a more serious form of skin cancer that
    is a type of lymphoma but I try not to think about it. The new one
    that I have on my neck right now is big and quickly growing and I have
    a couple of swollen lymps that they keep watching and tell me that
    they will have to check them if they don't go away. They are still
    there so we will see what happens with that on my next appointment.

    All in all I like using the Efudex between appointments for peace of mind
    that I am doing something to get rid of it.

    As for applying it, my instruction were to apply 2 times daily for 4 weeks
    to each lesion. It takes several days but you will be able to tell when it starts working as the skin will get crusty and inflamed. That is how you know it is working as it only works if there are bad cells present. Also make
    sure that you wash your hands after applying=you can also apply with a
    q-tip or the like but i just use my hands.

    Terri

    Last edited by busdriver; 04-04-2005 at 09:18 PM.

     
    Old 04-05-2005, 12:11 PM   #3
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Hi Terri, thank you so much for posting!!!! Wow, you sure are having a tough go now with all those BCCs....31??? OMG that's definitely a lot!!! Why do you think they're coming up so much at this time, or do you think it's just coincidence for timing?

    My husband had 1 BCC removed on his face, and 5 other moles removed on his back that were dysplasic.

    Were you a sun lover or did you burn a lot when you were a kid? Do you mind me to ask your age?

    Regarding the swollen lymph nodes...have you had further testing done? Are you being treated by a skin specialist or a cancer specialist?



    I started using it on Saturday, so far no noticable redness...just a bit of "pinching". I'm not looking forward to the rest of the process..but I'm happy to have someone else who's experienced it. I hope you don't mind if I ask you more questions as they come up. The support will definitely be appreciated.

    Talk soon,
    quincy
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    Last edited by quincy; 04-06-2005 at 11:03 AM.

     
    Old 04-06-2005, 06:39 AM   #4
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    I don't mind at all. I will be 50 in November. I had 3 BCC removed
    about 8 years ago on my leg and of course I didn't take that as a good
    warning. I have always been a sun tanner and have been burned
    my fair share of times to the point of blisters especially as a teen. My
    mom is a redhead and fair and has had 2 SSC's a few BCC's and one
    melanoma that required radiation for 5 weeks. I am currently being
    treated by a dermatologist. My GP does routine blood work every 3
    months and nothing has been unusual. I have had chest x-rays,
    MRI of head and neck (have a few neck problems from getting old I guess)
    and nothing showed there and CBC's show normal white and red blood
    counts so I guess there is nothing to worry about I hope. He also had me
    get a CT scan of abdomen and pelvis and was normal. The couple of
    lymph glands that are swollen are on the right side and one is little about
    the size of a pea and the other is right under my right jaw and could be
    because of a tooth that needs pulled. My GP has been pretty thorough
    in checking me out and has had me see an ENT also for sinus and allergy
    problems and the ENT said that the lymph glands were OK. They haven't
    grown and I guess that is a good sign.

    I think that the reason they are coming up right now and so many is that
    I started working at a beauty salon during the day and I get to tan for
    free and for the last 2 years I have tanned alot and that was my bit
    mistake I think. As I said I did have a few several years ago but this
    latest batch is multiplying rapidly. I seem to be slowing down right now,
    the derm made my next appointment for 3 months out and I was seeing
    them every 2 weeks and last appointment I didn't have to have any
    biopsies but had about 20 keratosis frozen. I do have 2 spots to bring
    to her attention at my upcoming appointment that will need biopsied.

    I guess I need to learn not to be tan!!!! I have purchased the sunscreen
    that they recommended and am ready as I love summer!!!

    The redness will get worse and the spot will get crusty--some of mine were
    oozing and a little bleeding and then they just start healing. They don't
    leave the nasty scar that the excisions do (or stitches) and I have had
    3 taken off by actual surgery as they were nodular.

    I do feel like this is totally my fault for overdoing it on the tanning and not
    taking the warning a couple years ago when I had them and my mom having
    them but you live and learn.

    If you have anymore questions just ask away. I felt lost when they started me on the Efudex as I didn't know anyone who had used it to talk to about
    side effects and so on---The derm just said that she was giving me
    Chemo for my skin and it kinda made me nervous but now I am on my 2nd
    tube and don't mind it at all. It is a little reassuring to have it on hand when I find a red spot and can just treat it myself between appointments.

    Terri

     
    Old 04-06-2005, 08:15 PM   #5
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Hi Terri.....seems we have a few things in common. I've just turned 50 in October and work in the beauty business. I'm very fair, burned a lot when a kid and teen (blisters) and red hair runs in both sides of my family (Scottish/Polish). I've not tanned in over 23 years.

    Yes, the next investment should be fake tan instead of bake tan. I hear the tanning cloths are awesome, (obviously safer) and I'm going to enquire about them this month. Another option for you (do they have it at your salon..) is the spray tan booths.


    My doc suggested the Efudex because of what you said....no nasty scars. I read they use it for cervical cancer as well...huh!

    You know, I've used it since Saturday and NOTHING except a few more spider veins. Could that be the start? If I don't have much precancer cells, will the skin that's got the Efudex applied to it still turn oozy, crusty and bleed?

    I'm vain! I won't deny it. But I'm feeling a bit better knowing that I don't have to treat EVERYTHING at the same time and look like I've just had my face broiled to a crisp (or had laser done or something like that). Small areas I can handle.


    I must express again that I so appreciate your postings!!!

    Any big plans for your 50th? I got a tattoo 3 weeks ago (gift from my husband), and I'm getting my second one on Friday (gift to myself). I've had people say..."you're the last person I thought would get one"...funny, turning 50 does offer a change in perspective.

    Thanks again...I'll keep you posted as to my first "SIGNS" of cell destruction..hahaha!!

    Be well,
    quincy
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    Old 04-06-2005, 10:10 PM   #6
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Thats funny--I have gotten 2 tattoos in the last year also. My
    hubbys friends are throwing me a 50th party and also my daughters
    birthday as we are 2 days apart (november). I am glad to hear someone
    else my age has gotten them recently. No one thought that I would
    get one either--now I have 2 and want another. I went with my 2
    daughters and we all got one!!!!


    We don't do the spray on tan here but I am checking on prices with all
    this. My dermatologist suggested the coppertone new sunscreen called
    endless summer. We had a customer that used it when she went to
    Florida and it is a 45 sunblock and she came back with a tan and absolutely
    no burn so I am going to try that one.

    I am trying to keep myself out of tanning beds but it is so hard. I like being
    tan. It has been months since I have gone---Kinda like smoking--hard habit
    to break---I quit that last June so I guess I can handle the tanning thing!!

    I read that about the cervical cancer for efudex---yuck. The efudex only
    works on "bad Cells". If you use it on a spot for a 2 week period and it doesnt start getting crusty and nasty then there are no bad cells in that
    spot. I was directed to use it on my spots when finding them for 4 to 6
    weeks 2 times a day. It will get fairly nasty and then just start healing all
    of the sudden and go away. It only works on cancer cells and actinic
    keratosis (pre-cancer). It doesn't work on the seborreac (sp) keratosis
    though. I think mine usually looks its worse about 2 weeks in and around
    3 1/2 to 4 weeks starts going away. Just keep irritations away from the
    spot when crusty as it does kinda burn or sting a bit just keep using until
    it heals and you will be pleasantly suprised at the results. I did get a few
    small side effects that went away--dry eyes and mouth but that was it.

    Hope you have good luck with it--just remember if it doesn't get crusty after
    a few weeks use then you are good to go for that area!!

    I am going to make a earlier appt with my derm as I have 2 new spots that
    are nasty looking and growing very quickly out of control. One on my neck is
    growing so fast I cannot keep up with it with efudex so I think I may need
    it checked out and probably cut off---yippeee---more needles and knives!!!!

    Terri

     
    Old 04-09-2005, 01:13 PM   #7
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Congratulations on quitting smoking!! As well....keeping out of the tanning beds! It may be hard, but the payoff is worth it. Funny thing about turning 50. We smarten up somehow....

    Actually, only slightly tanned skin looks good anyway...really tanned skin looks more aged, so start a trend where you are (I think dermographics plays a big part in trends) But, you already know the consequences...

    Really scary about the spot on your neck growing fast. My husband's spot on his face grew fast too. Probably getting it cut out would be best for you....yeah, needles and knives, nothing to get excited about! But somehow, no big deal.

    Cool about your tattoos....I just got my second one yesterday. Hurt like heck in some areas (it all came back to me with the first swipe ), but felt good when she stopped, haha

    My first one was around my ankle (fairly ambitious for the first go) and recovery was more painful upon walking than I would have thought. But, with that experience behind me, this one, being on the outside of my calf, pinches and hurts when initially walking. But, I have orders to keep it elevated for long periods of time... I'm very fair (as well thinner skin), so healing takes a tad longer than I would assume a younger person's would.

    Where are your tattoos and did it take you a while to heal?

    Update on my Efudex use....... I only started to put it on the areas (my doc suggested to put it fully across my nose but I chickened out because I didn't want a HUGE RED area -- vanity, remember). But, since I'm not reacting as I had thought (but this could backfire), I've started to put it fully across my nose as well. The areas that I didn't assume (beside the nostril) have turned more red than the spots that I went to the doc for. Interesting. I read that's a common place for precancer cells to start as well.

    It's still slightly pinching, spotty red but not right across. I'm definitely less stressed by the experience because of having this interaction.

    Oh, it says to use soap to wash. I've been using Cetaphil.....do you think that will make a difference? Should I use soap instead?

    Hope you have a great weekend.
    quincy
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    Old 04-10-2005, 06:21 PM   #8
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    My derm suggests using cetaphil lotion and cleanser so that would
    probably be good. I use it for body soap.

    My tatoos are one of them on my right upper arm and the other on my
    shoulder blade--the shoulder blade was a little painful!!!

    When I use the efudex I try to put it in a big area around any suspicious
    spots and wait to see what turns red. If there is no redness or crusty
    spots then they say that means no bad cells. I have used it on spots
    I didnt think were anything and they turned red--so just keep applying
    for a couple of weeks and in a big area as good skin won't crust.

    We had beautiful weather here in Indiana today 80 and sunny--I have been
    outside all day--but not in direct sunlight--I behaved myself!!!

    Terri

     
    Old 04-12-2005, 11:47 AM   #9
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Hi ....thanks again for the info. I thought Cetaphil cleanser would be OK...I'm glad to hear your doc suggested it too.

    I'm quite in awe of this medication tho, it's a great option to clean up those rogue skin cells...I was so scared to use it, and still feeling "conspicuous" when I'm out. How BAD would it be to sometimes cover the area with concealer if the area isn't oozing or crusting -- on occasion when going out?

    On the tattoo issue....this last one is healing well, I'm not really aware of it like the last one (probably because it's not completely around around my ankle). I like tattoos on the shoulder...do you mind me asking what it is? Did you have a hard time healing from it...since clothes cover the area and sleeping would interfere with comfort?
    Did your dermatolotist have a "freak out" considering the ongoing treatments with Efudex? I asked my dermatologist how many tattoo removals he gets........LOTS!! Imagine I think 50ish is a good age to know the decision is to keep them and not think of the option to have them removed later.

    WEll, I "can't wait" for the Efudex area to get worse I'm wondering if it'll just stay as it is (just really red and raw feeling). But, it's only been a week and a half.....can't you tell I'm a newbie at this, hahaha??

    The weather here (I'm in southern central Canada)...was very warm and the snow went almost with a blink. Of course, it's raining here for 2 days, bleh, and I'd much prefer a cooler sunny day. They're predicting a dry hot summer here..I don't like the heat...but I think I'll take it over the almost 5 months of cloud and rain we had from last Spring to Fall. I was relieved when it finally snowed and everything was white and bright. No control over the weather...sigh!

    Hope you have a good week.

    Keep you posted as to my progress!

    Thanks again,
    quincy
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    Old 04-16-2005, 06:20 AM   #10
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    I just recently have a spot on my upper cheek that doesn't seem to go away. Its kinda red and feels rough and has been there for about a month now. Noone can see it very good but I can feel it. Could this be what you guys are talking about? Thanks for any info...

     
    Old 04-17-2005, 09:30 AM   #11
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    Cool Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Mine that were basal cell carcinomas were red, a little raised,
    sometimes shiny in the beginning, and then they would peel,
    get really red and sometimes get a small scab on them. I too
    have a few spots on my nose that cannot really be seen but you
    can feel them with your fingers--the dermatologist says they are
    actinic keratosis--which is pre-cancer. She usually freezes them
    very lightly and they are gone. I also use the efudex on them as it
    works on cancer cells and pre cancer. Hope this helps. You can
    also do a search on skin cancer or basal cell carcinoma and some
    of the university or medical sites will have pictures for you to
    see what different skin problems look like.

    Terri

     
    Old 04-17-2005, 09:42 AM   #12
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    Cool Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Quincy---

    My tatoos seemed to heal well both times. The one on my shoulderblade
    is a half sun half moon face and is really pretty--it hurt the most and the
    one on my upper arm is really just a design he did for me. My mom had
    a cow when we came back with them--both of my daughters and my
    niece got some also!! My dermatologist is getting so used to seeing me
    that she usually has me come in every 2 weeks--when she sees me again
    this time she is going to be surprised about the new growths!! She had me
    go 2 months this time and I am betting she will have me come every 2 weeks
    again. This spot on my neck is growing and the efudex is not stopping it.
    It is making it really crusty and sore--even bleeding and every morning there is a new spot so it is growing daily. She didn't say anything about our tatoos as I have made my girls get checked by here also as my mom has had skin cancer also and is a redhead and so are both my girls. She looked at them and said that is very nice artwork!!

    I do use a little lotion and powder and blush when I am going out but I usually put the efudex on my face in the morning if I am going out and then
    don't use it in the evening and wash my face and use lotion and a little
    make up. Gotta cover up the 50 year old face ya know!!!

    Terri

    Last edited by busdriver; 04-17-2005 at 09:42 AM.

     
    Old 04-18-2005, 11:55 AM   #13
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    I would definitely get what you have checked out by a dermatologist. If you feel it and it's not healing...the doctor will be able to tell if it's precancer, cancer or something benign.

    My precancer just looked like eczema because it was rough and peeling. But through a magnifier, it looked like a bunch of spider veins together, a bit red...but not bleeding. Eventually a bump appeared that was peeling and then my doc sent me to a dermatologist upon my continued request. It did hurt a bit, never itched (and since I read that where it was -- on the side of my nose onto my cheek -- isn't a common place for eczema).

    Definitely get it checked out tho.

    quincy
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    Old 04-18-2005, 12:11 PM   #14
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    Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    Hi Terri,

    Well, the Efudex is still causing mighty redness, definite pinching and discomfort. One spot was oozing a bit but not really. No crusting so far -- but I have the rest of this week before I see the doc on Friday. I hope it's "bad enough of a reaction" for him....(he gleefully rubbed his hands together and said to me "the worse it is, the better" --YIKES ).

    The scabbing on my second tattoo is almost peeled off. I do "tease" some of the scabs that are partly sticking out..hard to keep from wanting to peel it all off..hahaha! It's definitely itchy is spots and I just rub lightly to relieve it -- plus it tends to slough some of the scabs as well. The new one is a dragonfly flying over a stylised vine with a spiderweb in a fork of the vine.
    The first one is a dragon looking up at a sun with a crescent moon in it. There's a vine with thorns surrounding my ankle. Both are done in tribal black. The dragonfly is grey shaded...and now I'm wanting the dragon to be grey shaded as well. Bearcat for punishment I guess!!

    I can see your mom having a cow considering 4 members of her family were newly "changed" forever. Interesting we both have a sun/moon.


    You're definitely the expert on Efudex! (I'm thrilled you posted to my query) I would be freaking out if I had ones that were continually growing and popping up at the same time as using the Efudex. Will you probably be getting them cut out then?

    Hope you're still out of the tanning booth....I hear the tanning cloths are awesome to use I'm going to check them out this summer for sure -- I think the beauty supplier sells them.

    I'll fill you in on Friday about my dr appointment. I suspect he'll have me start using it in other areas on my face. I'm also going to ask him about actinic keratosis. I think he said I have them.....didn't pay attention because he said that was nothing. So, I obviously got the name mixed up. I'm going to check them out on the net as well to see some pics to see if they look like what I have as well. Do yours itch sometimes?

    I'm definitely paying for past sun-sins. All the areas I'm having some sort of growths or skin change are where I used to burn. He didn't thoroughly check me all over....but he did say that I'll be hanging around for a while. eeeps!

    Have a great week.
    Talk soon,
    quincy
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    Last edited by quincy; 04-18-2005 at 12:17 PM.

     
    Old 04-18-2005, 09:27 PM   #15
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    Cool Re: EFUDEX -- any users or past users -- HELP!!!

    The neck thing is so miserable--the efudex is making it very nasty, crusty,
    and it even bleeds, it is the worst on I have had yet so I am afraid that means the knife!!! It starts under my left ear and runs down my neck and
    now have a new bumb this am on my shoulder and across my neck towards
    hairline. It looks so nasty and it sticks to my clothes and my pillow and that makes is even more uncomfortable not to mention everyone looks at it as says "What is that growing on your neck, it looks so terrible". I am going to have her look at it next week instead of the middle of may--I cannot stand
    this for that long. It is the biggets one I have had so far. I did have one
    on my back that was nodular that had to be completely removed (my daughter watched and said big hunk of skin) over my shoulder blade muscle
    and it left a 2 inch long scar but she did a fairly good job. It looks better that all the ones that were scraped and burned.

    She has me use the efudex on the spots on my face that are the actinic
    keratosis and it makes them go away also--they just don't get quite as
    nasty looking!! This thing on my neck just straight up hurts when I put
    the efudex on and feels like needles all day. Oh well I guess it is eating
    that nasty stuff off of me until doc sees me. At least between appointments you can do something to these little devils!!!!

    Your tatoos sound neet---how strange---we both turn 50, both get tattoos,
    and both have a half sun moon!!! And skin cancer!! We found that with our tattoos if you go buy some A and D ointment ( i think baby section) and put it on the tattoos to keep them moist they will not peel or get dry at all. Just rub a little in a couple times a day or more and it will keep them soft and colorful.

    Mom was ok with after the initial shock--now she says they are pretty--scared me though since I took my 2 daughters and neice--all are well over
    age thought--1 is 25 and other 2 are 30.

    Hang in there with efudex and it will help some and keep the knife away somewhat--some still need removed. I will be seeing my derm more often this year that some of my friends!!! I have been not tanning and found a good sunscreen recommended by my derm that gives you max protections and you will still get a tan--coppertone ultra sheer 45 sunblock was their
    suggestion. I used it this weekend and didn't get burned. It stays on for
    several hours.


    Terri

     
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