Efudix - My Journey / Experience - Combatting skin cancer

Day 28 (Recovery Day 12)  I feel great - just a slight itch all over my face and some tenderness when I touch my cheeks.
Day 28 (Recovery Day 12) I feel great - just a slight itch all over my face and some tenderness when I touch my cheeks. | Source
Day 26 (Recovery day 10)  The improvements surprise me.
Day 26 (Recovery day 10) The improvements surprise me. | Source

Day 25 - Recovery Day 9

Day 25 - Recovery Day 9  Continual improvement
Day 25 - Recovery Day 9 Continual improvement

Day 24 - Recovery Day 8

Recovery Day 8 (Day 24)
Recovery Day 8 (Day 24)

Day 24 (Recovery Day 8)

 It is amazing the difference a few days and tub of moisturiser will make.

The past few days have been pretty uneventful, the pain in my face has reduced dramatically and is really just a discomfort that comes when my face starts to get a little dry.  The mornings are still tough - when my face has gone hours without moisturiser.  As I reflect on the past two weeks I feel that I am in no position to complain, what I am dealing with now is no issue at all.

Today's photo was taken this morning - and now 5 hours later I am seeing from further improvements.  I think I am now getting some glimpses of what my new skin will look like.  As the layers of dryness is removed it reveals some new skin that is soft and smooth to touch, and so far looks flawless - I can only hope that this is how my whole face will look in a few short weeks.

I am still applying Efudix to the backs of my hands, but have reduced the application to just the spots I can see.  I am now after three weeks feeling some tenderness in these spots, but after the ordeal I have been through in the past few weeks think I am pretty well conditioned to see this through.

Just today I have a spring back in my step and am confident that my face can be shown in public again in just a few days.

I will post another pic this evening so you can see the changes that have occurred through the day.

Recovery Day 4 (day 20)

Recovery Day 4 (Day 20)
Recovery Day 4 (Day 20)

Recovery - Day 4 (day 20)

Not a lot of new experience or informaiton to share. More of the same - headaches, nausea in the morning and all day stinging burning with patches of dryness.  I am reducing the painkillers I was taking, and fortunatley I am still getting a good night sleep.

Earlier this week I spoke with a friend who has done the treatment before, and we spoke about the oosing and the goop and the smell that is particularly unsavoury. He described this smell as the smell of death and I think he is spot on. 

I am really quite tired of the ordeal, and think I am becoming a lot less tolerant.  I am considered a pretty tough person - but am really questioning this quaility - how do other people that go through this treatment copy. 

I am going into another weekend that will be spent entirely at home - It is not fair to expose the general public to this vision.

I have attahced pics from yesterday and today - and hope that by the time I next upload a picture it will look very different.  I am confident that by the end of the weekend the worst of it will be over.  Lets See !!!!

Day 19 (Recovery Day 3)

Recovery Day 3 (day 19)
Recovery Day 3 (day 19)

Recovery - Day 2 (Day 18)

Recovery Day 2 (Day 18)
Recovery Day 2 (Day 18)

Recovery - Day 2 (Day 18)

Today is my second full day of the recovery phase, and I was thinking that things should start to improve. Not really the case the pain continues, and the itching is worse, but the up side is that I am now able to smile and smirk and speak without the fear of splitting parts of my face.

I am still taking the Panadine at night - a good nights sleep is needed to get me through the day. When I wake up in the morning I feel nauseas and the headache is still there. After breaky in bed (thanks to my boys) I slowly make my way into the day. The routine now is a quick shower (where i splash the remants of last nights moisturiser off my face) then I pat my face dry with a tissue, then re apply the moisturiser, then I am ready for the day.

The creams I am using are keeping my face moist through till midday. After then, parts of my face start to dry out, while I still have some very moist parts where the skin has oosed a clear liquid (which has an interesting odor). I understnd the this is normal. When my face gets try, the air come sin contact with the bare skin which causes more pain, so I have to have a quick pat down then reapply the creams - for the remainder of the afternoon the itch and the stinging is unbearable. It is a good excuse to take an early mark from the office and get home to shower and repeat the shower applicaton process.

After two and a half weeks this process is just getting me down - I can not wait to get my life back - not long now I hope.

Day 16 - What a difference - a few hours can make

What a Day !!!!

I slept a little better last night - the Panedine Forte are doing their job.

What a sight (see the below pic)- it seems that overnight more of my face has scabbed over and the dryness on my face is much worse that what it has been up till now. BUT - today I have a good reason to soldier on - I am meeting with my dermo to review my efudix treatment, and there is a little part of me that is hoping that he will say we have done enough and you can stop applying the cream and begin with the recovery phase.

Two more panadine and hubby is driving my to the doctors, I am feeling extremely self conscious because I am looking a real sight. This is the first time my hubby has been out with me since I started the treatment... he is a little amused at the awkwardness he sees in the reaction of the people we pass. I have a slight (very slight) understanding now of how disabled or disfigured people feel when they are in public.

The first thing the doctor says, is oh, you have had a fairly extreme reaction, it must be sore. He then continues to tell me that while my reaction is extreme, it is a good outcome because we have gone deep enough - removed enough layers - so we can STOP applying the efudix. I am not sure whether to laugh or cry (mind you I am still pretty dopey from drugs). Oddly enough I am apprehensive to stop, and question his reasoning - I really need to be sure that we have got it all. I do not ever want to have to go through this again. The Dr assures me that it is time to stop with the efudix and time to start putting moisture back into my skin and allowing the new skin to come through. It may take another couple weeks before we see any great results - but this a huge step forward.

After coming out of the doctors office all I can do is cry - I can not beleive that this is almost over.

So stage two begins - putting moisture back into my skin and allow my body to do its job and start the repair process. I have a prescription for some steroid based cream to reduce the swelling, the redness and the pain. This cream can only be applied once a day. I have also been told to get a very heavy, greasy moisturiser to keep my exposed skin covered while it heals. I can not wait to put some moisture into my skin.

Fortunatley my sister is available to do a quick trek to the health food store to get me the best available creams to do the job, and within an hour arrives at my doorstop with some Manuka honey moisturiser and some Shea butter - the combination of which should soothe, heal and protect my skin.

After just the first application of moisture - I am feeling like a new woman, I can open my mouth without excruciating pain, I can rub my lips together, I speak normally and I can smile. I will continue to apply these creams as my face gets dry, and use the steroid cream if it absolutely necessary.

Funny thing - my hands (which I have also been treating for two weeks) are still showing very little reaction to the treatment - so we will continue to apply the efudix for another two weeks, at which time I will be meeting with the Doc again.

As I look back over my day, I have a mix of emotions. Looking at this mornings photo brings tears to my eyes, and to now look in the mirror my face is red and shiny, and there is still a little bit of an itch and some soreness, but it is SO much better...

Day 16 - Efudix Review with Dermo

Day 16 - how much worse can it get??
Day 16 - how much worse can it get??

Day 15 - Call the Dr

What a day - after a restless night sleep I woke in pain.  The burning, aching, itching feeling is constant and extreme.  I had a home call from the GP at midday and was given Panedine Forte for the pain - the remainder of the day was quite bearable.

I am not going to be shy with pain releif - no point making this experience any worse than t needs to be.

Day 14 - End of Week 2

Day 14  It is really hard to smile for a pic...
Day 14 It is really hard to smile for a pic...

Day 14 - This is no fun

 It is hard to remain positive when you are running on limited sleep.  Last night after bedding down early (after an umcomfortable day in the office) I woke about 11.30 and my face was aching terribly and the all over itching was unbearable.  After two nurofen and two hours reading (to take my mind of the itch) I finally got back to sleep - and the rest of the night was quite restless.

This morning I took my time dragging myself out of bed, then went through the morning ritual, shower in a can, splash of water on my face and then more Efudix.  This morning it took a good 30 minutes for my face to settle down (even after more Nurofen).  The headaches today were not a problem - the issue is the constant face ache and the stinging dry feeling I am getting.  There is a constant sense of pressure on my skin that makes me feel if i smile too big, my face will literally crack.

Eating and speaking is much more difficult, my family and I are selecting our meals more carefully, eating only things that can be cut into small pieces.

I am meeting with the doctor on Monday (Day 16) I am hoping he will tell me that I am through the worst of it - but I think this is wishful thinking.

Thanks so much to my family - I really am so grateful for your love and support. 

Day 12 - it is becoming challenging

Is has been six days since I last posted on this blog - and up until today I had very little new experience to share, just more of the same - hot flushes, tightness in my skin and the slight headache.

TODAY - different story.

I woke this morning with a stinking headache and a lot more pain (stinging pain) on my face. So the morning routine since day 8 is simply a shower in a can and a quick splash of water on my face, just to get rid of any residue from the cream the night before and to prepare myself for the next application. The direct water on my face is no longer bearable, and the steam in the shower is also causing some discomfort.

Between towel drying (very gently patting) my face and applying the next dose my stinging skin bought some tears to my eyes - but I kept telling myself that it is fine... we are almost halfway through the treatment... stay tough. Then as the cream was applied onto my dry skin the grit and the scratching adds to the pain.

All the while hubby and my five year old are in bed keeping a close watch making sure I am OK .. what can I say - I am fine just need a few quiet minutes to let my fiery skin settle down. Quiet coffee and toast and we are back to where we were yesterday just feeling generally uncomfortable - hot and scratchy.

Funny story - last night after dinner I notice in the mirror I had what looked like the remants of a beautiful dinner on the edge of my mouth - which my hubby and I though was pretty funny ..No that hurts to stretch my mouth too widely during dinner, or to laugh or smile too hard, it was quite possible that I had left a little dinner behind. BUT no - a closer inspectoin revealed parts of my skin flaking and clumping at the corner of my mouth, which is particularly unsightly.

So I will continue on with my day - headache in the background - not laughing too hard and continually keeping my mind busy - avoiding the discomfort of my face.

I will post more pics tonight.

I would love to hear from anyone else that has been through this treatment.  

Day 12

Day 12
Day 12

Day 10

Day 6
Day 6

Day 6 - So far so good !!!

Well I have almost made it through the first week - and so far so good.

There have been a few moments during the course of today when the consistent itch became a real irritation, and there have also been times where I would liken the warmth on my face to a hot flush. So far keeping busy and keeping my mind occupied seems to be helping.

I am applying the cream right after a shower twice a day, and am starting to find the cream is taking much longer to soak into my skin. Last night I waited about 20 minutes (after the shower) before applying the cream and found that my skin dried out, then then the application of the cream was a little gritty.

Having my face directly under the hot water in the shower is creating some discomfort, I now just have to splash. No real issue.

I am also treating the skin on the back of my hands, and I can honestly say that I had not felt any pain or had any discolouration there as yet.

You will see from the photo, the colour of my skin is not yet a real problem, though I have had some comments today about spending too much time in the sun. I think I am only days away from being particularly unsightly. Stand by....

Day Four - Now I can feel it

Day Four has started in a fairly uninteresting manner - out of bed into the shower, wash my face with water (is that really washing) then reapply (6.30am).

I am thinking at this point that the first week is going to be a breeze.

It is now 12.30 and I am just starting to feel some real effects - my face is feeling quite warm - really feels like I have spent too much time in the sun. The itching is getting a little more consistent and my face is starting to get red and blotchy.

I will post another photo later today so you can see the changes.

Day Three - Just a Little Shine

Day 3 - So far only Tingling
Day 3 - So far only Tingling

First application - and the only concern I have is if I have used enough. 

After 2 hours - there is some very slight tingling, but I am wondering if this is simply a result of my focus on how my face is feeling. 

5th September 2010 : Day One

Today is day one ... I have sourced the cream and prepared the family for the ordeal of the next month (which is hard to do given the unknowns). Once dinner is done I will be applying the first round of Efudix. I am apprehensive, and have concerns about the burning and itching starting right away. I am also a little excited that I am one day closer to the treatment being completed and a more youthful me.

Stand by to hear about the first application later this evening.

Before the treatment

This is me before the treatment (and my five year old son Ryan).
This is me before the treatment (and my five year old son Ryan).

Where it all started

I have grown up in a very normal QLD family - plenty of time spent in the sun, always aware of the damage the sun can do - I had red hair and plenty of freckles which should have have guided me to always SLIP - SLOP - SLAP. 

Now, at 31 I am well aware of the issues that our 'it'll be alright attitude' can lead to. .

I am fortunate enough to have family and friends that constantly remind me to have my skin checked. At the age of 25 I had a very small BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma) removed, and now at 31 my dermatologist tells me that there are many more signs that I am in for a world of pain if I do not treat the othe various spots of sun damage I have on my face and hands.

As you can see from the pictures - I had no reason to think I was in danger, or that I would need to undergo any treatment that would be considered a part of the Chemotherapy group of treatments... little did I know.

Now - after spending months considering the Efudix topical treatment, getting second opinions, hours of internet research, speaking with natural therapist and speaking with others that have have done it, I am taking the plunge. Not only am I expecting my Solar Keratoses (skin spots) to be gone in a month, but I hoping for a more much younger looking skin.  

Comments 33 comments

Tammy 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story Kirstie, you are very brave.


Sharon Neish 6 years ago

Your new skin looks amazing Kirsty! I couldn't imagine the pain you've endured. All for a positive result. Thanks for sharing X Sharon X


Neville 6 years ago

Congrats Kirstie I too am on the Efudix journey. I started the treatment on the 1st of August 2010 and was told to keep putting the cream on until it (my face x2 daily) was all gone by my doctor. Today is October 8th 2010 and I have read just about all I can today about this cream. This morning will be the last time I apply this cream. I sympathize with you the whole way. Stay strong. Thanks for sharing


Linda 6 years ago

Well done Kirsty it's tough but worth it. I was a fair freckled child raised for 6 years in Africa and have been having treatment for over 20 years. I am on Efudix day 6 recovery and smiling is so much easier - vaseline is my saviour! You look great, stay strong:empathy with you, Neville and all the others out there. Thanks for sharing it really helps. Linda x


COURTNEY FREEMAN (Mr) 5 years ago

What a brilliant article. It just happens that today is number 16 and I had decided to stop applying Efudix for a few days as my condition appeared to be getting no better and pretty unbearable. My doctor had actually advised to apply cream for 4 weeks and no other advice was given. I too was wary of not applying Efudix for long enough but now skin has started to peel and the new skin is wet but very smooth, which I thought might be news. Reading your article has put my mind to rest and am happy to start the recovery phase. I think that an explanation leaflet given by the doctor may have been a good idea.


Nancy Hamer 5 years ago

Thank you for your article, it was most informative. My skin specialist recommended this traetment and your journey was the most insightful of all my searches.


Patricia calvert 4 years ago

Thank You for sharing your experence.I have started to use Efudix and felt concerned with itching inflamation and blistering but have decided to carry on after reading your Article


Layo 4 years ago

Read your page before I embarked on this. thank you so much for sharing everything. I'm on day 11 now and so far it's not too bad. Bit concerned that I'm away from Australia and UK doctor is not familiar with this. Was told originally to use for 21 days, but if it's bad, when will I know it's ok to stop? It's just up to me to decide. Help!


Chandrika 4 years ago

Well done on sharing so openly and getting through it in a public forum. i am into the recovery phase but still looking dreadful and I wasn't brave enough to do photos even though I blogged about it at the start of the treatment. I'm trying to restrain myself from scratching layers off but desperate to see if the 'new skin' underneath will be clear. if not, surgery will be next....


Peter 4 years ago

Thank for sharing your experience for the benefit of those of us who are starting the journey. Your courage has inspired and helped me enormously.


Linda - Aintree Village 4 years ago

I'm on day 19 of 21 using Efudix on my chest - was ready to give up as pain and scratching is so unbearable until I read this - haven't been off work so far but don't think I can continue as I work in High School. Your story has made me grateful it's only on my chest - thanks for the useful information and inspiration to carry on.x x x


Denise 4 years ago

I am on day one of recovery and the pain is still evident. I have not hidden myself away but feel very self-conscious at work and going out in public. I was told by my dermatologist to apply twice a day for three weeks but only Monday to Friday. Thank you for sharing with photos. I have only one photo taken at the end of treatment. Just to remind myself what I have had to endure. Let the healing begin.


jason from brisbane 4 years ago

I have just started my efudix treatment and was not told by my doc how to apply or how long 4 tho reading ur story now i no how to use the efudix .I will use it for 4 weeks and see how it ends .Thanks for the positive comments from you guys

jason .


ZackfmLondon 4 years ago

Congratulations on your courage.

Its now probably 6-9 months since recovery.

Can u tell us how your face looks in comparison to the pre-treatment?

Appreciate if you"ll add a recent pic.

Thanks

Zack


Heather 4 years ago

Hi Kirstie,

I've just stopped using Efudix after one week of treatment on my face. Doc advised this morning that the treatment had already done its work. I've read so many different opinions about post-treatment creams that I am confused as to what is best. My doc has prescribed 1% cortisone ointment with a vitamin e healing moisturiser. I'm also mixing all this with a little anti-bacterial cream to stop the possibility of infection. What healing creams did you use? I also grew up in Qld.


Nicky 4 years ago

Hi Kristie, I'm very glad you were so brave to make this blog. It is a great help for me. I started 8 days ago, still have about three more weeks to go. Up till now i only felt a bit nausea and skin is getting dry. I'm taking pictures every 3th day, so I can make a photo collage for the dermatologist. I live on Bonaire a small island un the Caribbean, information is not so good over here. Thanx again!


Nicky 4 years ago

I Kirstie and all readers from this blog. Once again from the island Bonaire. I stopped using Efudix a week ago. The first 2 days of recovery I used olive oil for the pain and dryness. The third day up till now I used aloe vera fresh from our garden. Take of the peel and just rubbed the slimy jelloish inside on my face. Now afther one week all the dead skin is vanished and I am looking and feeling great. Regards Nicky


Andy 3 years ago

Hope you are well now , I have been perscribed Efudix for a mark on my forehead . Your post has been very informative , It's such a shame that something as natural as the sun can do us so much harm . I also have to use it on my shoulder , so I think I will try it there first .


Monique 3 years ago

Hi Kristie, I contacted you a year ago and I'm only now finally doing the Edudix treatment. I also just had PDT on my nose (very painful!) I've got 5wks off from work. On my 4th day and still no redness yet -just want it to hurry up and start so the sooner it will be over with! It would be great to know how your face is now 2 yrs later. Have any more skin cancers appeared since your treatment? It's not fair - our skin is just not cut out for the harsh Queensland sun :-(


julie 3 years ago

For a scaley nose that had been iced off twice my specialist recommended efeudix.. I found this type of treatment was absolutely cruel . It feels like your face is exploding, think about rice bubbles, snap crackle and pop,.. that is what your face feels like. There has to be a more humane way to combat skin problems than this. Its been 6 months and having my face peeling away and most nights crying and bleeding let alone no sleep because of the pain , My face cries for continual moisture. I need to moisturise at least 3 times a day with a heavy based moisturiser. These specialist need to go back to school and find another way , and you know what , I didn't have skin cancer . , I had a sun spot, I found out after, and went through all of that.


jo 3 years ago

i am in week two of the cream and it is really sore woken up in the night with my face stuck to the pillow case ,i cannot wait utill they journey is over .done with this .it is so sore


sara 2 years ago

I'm also using efudix on my 3rd WK ,I had a biopsy which showed solar karatosis... I apply twice a day but unsure if I've been applying to a wide enough area of skin...? Just put cream round biopsy site..! Should I be doing the whole left cheek..? Kirsty your so strong as I know its very painful..!! X


Pat 2 years ago

Why didn't you just use Black Salve in stages?


Tom 2 years ago

Hi Kirsty

Thanks heaps for sharing your experience, Ive just completed 21 days of treatment and my face feels and looks like the top of a pie with sauce, red, crusty and flaky. I'm off to get some manuka honey moisturiser and shea butter. I wasn't sure if it was ok to use anything after the treatment.

thanks again


Sharon S 2 years ago

Omg - I've just completed Day 4, and I'm freaking out. The doctor gave me the script, $69.00 later, and it's only now I've wondered what I was getting myself into. I'm going to continue, but I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.....now I do, and I'm crapping myself ahhhhhhh


Frank 2 years ago

another ex-Qld'er here - (highest skin cancer rate in the world - a lot of white people with an outdoor lifestyle in a sub/tropical sun - d'oh!) - I got my first BCC at 31, and have lost count of how many I've had frozen off or cut out - now 60 and with regular 6 monthly checkups (last week found a small BCC on my back - doc said 'make a 30min appt to cut it out - no hurry - these are slow growing), I've only just been told about efudix/fluorouracil by my partner (that her boss is using it on his forehead for a superficial area) so am reading about this for the first time.

My father was a doctor, I did a year of medicine so can scan such info quickly - metabolic inhibitor, targets fast growing cells, recommended for superficial pre-cancerous spots where usual removal methods are not suitable (I'm guessing eye lids or large areas on the face that have been left untreated for too long).

I'm a bit confused - read this story of nearly dying from anaphylactic shock from using too much of this stuff - http://www.heather-ellis.com/efudix.html - it almost looks like the same story.

My thoughts from 30 years of having skin cancers removed and my doctor's suggestions - if it's a real BCC better to cut it out - they can then biopsy it to check they've removed all of it - simply freezing/burning off the top layer can come back and bite you if it spreads further underneath while the top layer is 'healing'

if it's pre-cancerous/solar keratosis only - then maybe - but maybe don't use too much unless you're ready for a world of pain and can lock yourself away from visibility for a fortnight.

and of course if it's a rapidly growing spot - look out for dark/irregular/multi-colour/red or purple/raised/crusty spots - get it checked by a skin doctor - in Qld they should know - not like Taiwan where I went to the skin 'specialist' with a BCC - he looked at it (hadn't seen many I guess) told me it wasn't a BCC - OK - I came back to Oz, went to my skin doctor, he said yes it is and removed it. So don't trust everyone you hear - get a second opinion - it's your life - humans make mistakes all the time - keep looking until you find your answer !


Fiona 2 years ago

Great to read your experience kirsty, im day12 and its good to see that what im going threw is normal, not very nice but the end result better be worth it


Donna 2 years ago

I was so glad to find your article. I felt I was on my own doing this treatment. In a strange way it is rather comforting that so many others have gone through and are going through what I am now. You can feel quite alone and isolated. I am Day 18 and just reading your article and seeing what you have gone through makes me feel better. You were brave to post your journey but it certainly has helped mine. I have not experienced the amount of discomfort you did. Thanks again :)


Joan 2 years ago

I'm on day 31 with a spot which is getting larger due to the treatment. No headaches but the pain is increasing along with the itch. My forehead is very unsightly and strangers ask me what happened. I just tell them it is skin cancer and that I'm okay.


Bill wilson 17 months ago

Day 18 and now finished the cream,thank goodness! I'm a roof plumber,58 ,plenty of Australian sun,live in Victoria. Second time I have used the efudix cream . Hard work but the results are worth it.My information that I pass on are my results.Dont give up; itchy,sore,ugly,personally makes you feel to hide from public,lower esteem .But the good news,I remember the first time I used it,my face turned like a baby's bottom,a great result.Now,a week or so to go in recovery,I'm upbeat and ready to go! Bottom line ,it makes you look good and it kills those bad skin cells.Persist !


Maggie 13 months ago

I used Efudix on my face, both cheeks and chin all areas. At day 15 of daily application, my reaction was so severe that my consultant said stop (my GP had prescribed it for 4 weeks use). I am into day 3 of recovery and my face is covered in dried up puss-y scabs. Just hope I don't get any permanent scarring. Any others get this?


goospanish 13 months ago

Some do. cancercompass has a lot of information. I'm on day 2 of treatment


Johann 5 months ago

Hi there, I have been advised by my dermatologist to apply Efudix twice daily for 2 weeks. I am on day 5 and my skin is starting to feel tender to the touch and somewhat stiff. Not looking forward for what is still to come though . . .

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working