Skin Cancer Drug May Smooth Wrinkles

Doctors have been using Efudex cream to treat actinic keratoses, a precancerous form of squamous cell carcinoma (also known as skin cancer), for four decades, but a new study has found that the medication could also improve skin and smooth wrinkles and rough spots. Dr. Dana Sachs of the University of Michigan, whose study appears in the Archives of Dermatology, said the cream seems to cause an increase in collagen production as it heals the skin wounds. But with every medication comes a downside. Patients experience reddened and inflamed skin soon after application. “Patients look really bad,” Sachs said in a telephone interview with Reuters. “Their skin is red. I’ve heard people describe it as looking like raw hamburger meat.” Then, their skin improves — the pre-cancers are gone and the skin remains youthful for years. Sachs said this knowledge could get patients to stick with their treatments through completion.