User Reviews for Aldara to treat Basal Cell Carcinoma
Aldara has an average rating of 5.9 out of 10 from a total of 26 ratings for the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma. 46% of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 38% reported a negative experience.
“Just finished week 6 of aldara for BCC.....now waiting for the scabs and redness to go away. 6 weeks was a long treatment, but well worth it instead of MOHS surgery. You MUST wash hands before and after applying and you MUST wash the application area(s) after 8 hours. I applied the cream on the tip of my nose but the entire nose reacted! I applied the cream Monday to Friday and took Saturday and Sunday off. Weeks 3 and 4 were the worst....lots of oozing and dark scabs. You can use makeup....start with a color corrector, then a concealer and/or foundation. I’m now waiting for the scabs and redness to go away. There are no instructions on what to do after the 6 weeks, so I’m still washing the area and putting moisturizer on it twice a day.”
“This is my 5th go-around with Aldara. I've previously treated 3 facial BCCs and 2 pre-cancerous areas. I insist on a biopsy the minute I have even a tiny, non-healing lesion and I have never been wrong. I notice nothing for about 14 days, then all the big reaction breaks loose! Painful, weeping, 2-cm sores requiring gauze just to sleep. I look like a leper. This latest treatment came with massive headaches, joint aches, abdominal pain and flu-like malaise which began during week three and continues unabated. That said, I have never had a lesion recur; there is no scarring whatsoever; and the healing after stopping the applications is swift-- all sores gone within about two weeks. It can take two to four months before the skin thickens completely back to normal, and I am compulsive about sun-screening-- especially any pre-treated areas. The treatment isn't fun, and at $400 a pop it's a bit excessive. But the results for me have been consistently great.”
“When treating for Basal Cell Carcinoma, in my case the arm, HEED THE WARNING to not use on sore or broken skin, which should include recently biopsied lesions to avoid any confusion. Wait until the excision site has healed. I did not receive this instruction and began using it that night. The pain was beyond description, reached deep into the muscle tissue, and lasted for hours. Follow-up phone calls of course confirmed the oversight. ”
“After being perfectly healthy my entire life, used Aldara cream for 10 days on BC on chest. I thought it would be least invasive. After developing large "croissant" size growth of black on my chest, worsening fatigue, migraine, severe diarrhea, low grade fevers, red rash over arms and legs, large tennis ball size red swollen growth on shoulder, and dizziness was admitted to hospital. At this point, I was told later, near death. I spent 3 days in isolation, seen by infectious disease specialist, internal medicine, gastroenterologist. Dx: recurrent C-dif bowel infection-Colitis, MRSA infection, severe anemia. Received 2 blood transfusions, iron, upper scope of GI tract, MRI of brain, chest xray, multiple blood workups. Anemic blood level of 7 (normal blood level is 14). Weight loss at 20 pounds. This drug was SYSTEMIC in my body, and nearly ended my life. Do NOT take the medication. My new dermatologist stated he will never prescribe it again after my experience.”
“Used it for 3 weeks. 5 days on, 2 off, and so on. 1st week comes out like pimples, second they break, third they dry. Hurts, sure but not impossible. Works perfectly. Fever, drowsiness, headaches, but its worth it. I have used it for the last 5 years once a year for face skin problems.”
“For 18 months I had a sore on my nose that would bleed scab than disappear, finally I had it checked (I should have known better, have family history of skin cancer) came back as a BCC. I'm now 5 weeks into my use of Aldara. for the first 3 weeks didn't really have any signs of it doing to much well now at week 5, my nose is hard scab like and a lot bigger area than I had thought. I wouldn't say its sore just uncomfortable and itchy at times. I guess once completed and healed time will tell if it completely worked, my doctor gives it an 80% chance and if not, its surgery for me. I hope this isn't all for nothing but feel it has been worth the chance and do feel that it has done its job well, so far so good. I'm in AUS and cost was $50.”
“I'm now 82 after 4 surgeries on my face I was given Aldara ..it may make big red ugly areas but with patience it does the job. You may think you just have a small area that is affected but wow..it's usually a larger area than you think. That's why I think it's better that doing the MOH's surgery.”
Frequently asked questions
- How long does it take Aldara burns/scabs to heal?
- How effective is Aldara for genital warts?
- How do I know if Aldara is working for skin cancer?
- Is imiquimod the same as Aldara?
“The side effects of this cream were bad. Very painful sinus, swelling of throat and inside mouth, continuous cough on chest, headache (don't usually suffer headaches, dizziness). May be good for some people but not me. (I am 74).”
“I had BCC on my nose. I had been misdiagosed and by the time a biopsy was done the surgeon said he could do MOHs surgery but it would require removing a thumb nail size portion of my nose, using parts of my ear to reconstruct the nose and also skin grafts. He offered the Aldara option to shrink the tumor. He said that the cream would turn my nose red. I applied the Aldara cream every night for 6 weeks as directed. It was absolutely far more than turning my nose red. Fatigue, headaches, bright red nose that looked as though my nose was one big cold sore. I went into quarantine for six weeks. At times I felt I could not continue. Some how I did. If wish there were a place to post pictures of my nose during Aldara treatment. I went back for the MOH's surgery. It only took two scrapings to remove cancer. I would choose the Aldara option should I ever be given the choice. It was miserable but I would still take it over the surgery option.”
“Aldara usage for BCC gave me severe side effects, hospitalization, systemic penetration to my body. Nearly died. DO NOT use this drug. I was forever changed, at a young age. There are so many better alternatives.”
“I started using the Aldara cream on the 29th of June after being diagnosed with a Basal Cell Carcinoma on my nose. It’s now been 5 weeks of use and the area is sore, red, crusty and oozing which is exactly what should be happening. I still have another week of use but so far my doctor has been happy with my progress and said that the worse the area of the cancer cells looks after use, the better.”
“I had a BCC on my ear, and had it treated with radiotheraphy. It came back. I then had it cut out with a skin graft. It came back. I then treated it with Aldara, but for not as long as recommended, and that worked for about 6 months, but it returned about a year ago. The Dr. indicated that the next step was surgery to remove part of my ear. I gave it another good dose for the full recommended term with Aldara, and it/s been clear since then. I believe I should have used Aldara from the start, and avoided radiotheraphy and an operation, plus a lot of cost. I've had no side effects, and have used it on other BCC with no problems.”
“I had a small dot on my chest and a penny sized one on my side. The dermatology consultant told me to use aldara on the two areas but only once daily for five days then two day break. Leave on for 8 hours then wash off. She then said she would see me in 4 months. I was a bit surprised she didn't want to see me during treatment but thought the aldara must be good at doing its job. How wrong could I be. Within one week of using it the rest of my chest erupted into large red sores with lots of little red spots all over it. I didn't know if this was normal as nothing much was discussed at appointment. I continued to use the cream but everyday was more and more horrific. The sores were blistering and bleeding and oozing fluid not to mention red raw and itchy. By the end of the second week I could not tolerate any more so I stopped using it and tried to contact the dermatology department which wasn't interested unless I had another referral from my doctor.”
“My basal cell had recurred after surgical removal. Another removal would have resulted in extensive plastic surgery. The Aldara had no visible effect until the second week. By the fifth week, the area looked horrible and I became concerned. Nevertheless, I continued application and by week eight, I was looking in the mirror at new, fresh, pink skin. Wonderful! Based upon my experience, I think it is generally correct to believe that if there is one basal cell area, the entire face is damaged, even though it is not visible. Therefore, I would recommend using the cream only on the limited, visible lesion. Otherwise, the area of lesions will be large and scary.”
“Itchy, sore to touch, don't sleep well the nights its applied. This is my second treat for bcc, the first with aldara got infected and subsequently scarred, all bcc were on chest area, the first is completely gone, the second I'm 3 weeks through a 4 week treatment, can't wait to be finished although end results are acceptable for the pain and irritation that you go through”
“I treated my several areas of my face with Aldara in 2007. My reaction was so severe after 10 days of use, my dermatologist advised me to discontinue the use. I thought I broke my metarcpal , trapexoid and trapsium. It was swollen and I had such pain i could not even hold a pen. Of course it had to be my right thumb, and I am right handed. which is also the hand I applied the cream with. I had a orthopedic friend order an xray, which came back as arthritis in those areas. One of the rare side effects, however I also had fever chills malaise, and really ugly inflammation. I have since had to have several lesions surgically removed, involving skin grafts, some removed with the use of liquid nitrogen, and now my dermatologist is recommending I treat them again with Aldara. Not a chance!! I will try the Effudex again, however it did nothing the first time I used it, but that was several years ago, maybe 2000, or earlier.”
“I am in complete agreement with "Old Ruth". Nothing happened for about 10 days, but when it did, wow! Instead of having one lesion only it turned out that I had them all over my nose. It became swollen, then stretched, then "crusty", and then the whole mess disappeared and has not returned, 5 years now. The biggest drawback is the price! It was on half-prescription when I began, but very shortly thereafter it was taken off prescription (I live in Spain) and reverted to 84 euros. I wouldn't mind except with the little- sachets - you don't seem to be getting much for your money. More recently I have had a similar lesion on my temple. I have been using Diclofenaco partly because it seems to have a good reputation, and partly because it is MUCH cheaper. The jury is still out, but it seems to be having more or less the same effect as the Aldara.”
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“I used this on a persistent basal cell carcinoma, in the centre of my forehead, which never healed and bleed at times, on application ,nothing happened much for a week, but then my face erupted right across my forehead, large red blotches which turned to blisters. I used it for three weeks instead of six weeks as recommended. I went to my doctor who said to stop using it. The scabs soon cleared, and after a short while my skin was clear and back to normal. Was it worth it?Most definitely, no carcinoma, in the UK it's a prescription drug and only available through a doctor, and paid for by our NHS so I don't know the cost.”
“Second time on Aldra. The first time I used it on my right temple, nose, and my face. I was covered in red blotches, like scalds, but I don't remember any severe reactions. I can't seem to remember it hurting, and it was worth it. It cleared the persistent and sore bcc on my nose and temple. I now have another bcc on my forehead which has been persistent and shown no sign of healing, and has bleed at times. My GP/doctor has prescribed a course of Aldara and this time I have a much worse reaction, one side of my face has come with very red like swollen spots, blistering, and I have flu like symptoms. But I am sure it will be worth it.”
“My second week. Basal Cell Carcinoma on right forehead and cheek. Blistering all over my cheek and around my mouth. Dry, crusty patch on the right side of my nose. Feel tired but I am sleeping. The area of reaction is bigger than I expected but nothing on my forehead yet. I had one excision above my eyebrow which took ages to heal so am happy to use the cream. In Italy it cost 84 Euros.”
“Easy to apply. The medication journal makes it easy to track usage and clearly defines “break days”. This is week four. Skin is red and irritated, however very bearable and annoying rather than painful. Other side effects are pretty hard to tolerate. Fatigue is beyond belief and at times debilitating yet unable to sleep. Nausea all the time. Headache at times. Perception seems to be a little distorted. Difficult to tell how much the light headed feeling is coming from fatigue. Joints ache. A little weight gain. I’m irritable due to unbearable fatigue. Dreams at night are emotionally overwhelming and vivid. The effect of alcohol is extremely magnified. I call these my little bottles of hell. That’s how they make me feel. That said, it seems to be working and I’m very interested in seeing the results. Given a choice at this stage, excision would be my preference. That might change by the time I finish treatment. However it would take a lot to endure this again.”
“I have used Aldara in the past, for specific lesions. Never once have I been able to go the full course as my glands swell and I feel miserable and fluey. Over the years, I have had 21 MOH's surgeries, so I always think the Aldara will be better, but after this last round, I'm not so sure. This time, the dermatologist told me to apply it to my whole face Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights and rinse off in the morning. There are at least 30 lesions that are reacting and yesterday I had to just lay in a chair all day, feeling awful. Needless to say, I'm going off of it a bit early again. Hopefully it has done something to most of these areas, but I'm not sure I'm a good candidate for this drug. The good thing about MOH's surgery is that the entire BCC is removed and doesn't come back. Many of these spots are ones that I've used Aldara on over the years and they are back...”
“I have been using Aldara for 5 and a half weeks, on a BCC that was scrapped off. Strangely nothing has happened, I have applied it as recommended, but there is nothing (except the scar from the scrapping) to show for it! Money not well spent!”
“3 weeks only using it at night Monday/Wednesday/Friday only. No side effects but masked probably because I have Parkinsons. Small area only above Temple . No result really although feeling it now there is a rough patch so pleased. I would like to use for another week but not sure if advisable. I had a stinging sensation for years which GP’s just waved their hands in the air as if to say nothing to worry about until I saw a GP 3 weeks ago. He prescribed this cream and I believe it’s now doing its job.”
“I recently used it and posted my comments which are favourable, but I though you might be interested in what can only be termed as side effect. My finger nails nails are really growing fast, for some reason, my little finger nails usually split and my thumb nails usually split at the base, but there has been no sign of splitting and are growing really well - I have even cut them some thing I have never done in my life at 72 year old,”
This information is not intended to endorse any particular medication. While these reviews may be helpful, they are not a substitute for the expertise, knowledge, and judgement of healthcare professionals.
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- Drug class: topical anti-infectives