A report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that many skin cancers can be cured by applying a cream containing imiquimod three times a week for several weeks on the lesions.

Imiquimod stimulates cells to produce alpha interferon, a potent chemical that kills most viruses. It enhances a person's own immunity so that it can kill cancer cells. Skin cancers feel very soft when scraped, while normal skin is hard. The conventional treatment is for the dermatologist to scrape out the soft skin cancer until he fells hard skin and then burn a margin around the area. However, this treatment almost always leaves significant scars. Imiquimod offers advantages over the more conventional treatments because it rarely leaves any scars, is far cheaper than surgery, does not bleed, does not become infected and is relatively painless.

Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology 1999;41:1002-1007. Archives of Dermatology June, 2000

Checked 8/9/05

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