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Self-Applied Cream Good News For Kiwis With Cancer

29 July 2004

A cream that has just been approved for the treatment of skin cancer in New Zealand will go a long way in helping those Kiwis who suffer from this most common type of cancer.

The self-applied cream, called Aldara, offers an alternative treatment to the surgical removal of lesions, which can be painful and leave scars.

Following successful clinical trials, Aldara has been approved for the treatment of a superficial skin cancer (known as superficial basal cell carcinoma - sBCC) and pre-cancerous sun spots (also known as actinic or solar keratosis) in New Zealand.

Research by the New Zealand Cancer Society estimates at least 45,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer occur annually in New Zealand, with basal cell carcinoma being the most common.

Wellington dermatologist Dr Bruce Taylor says that dermatologists have found Aldara to be very effective in treating common skin cancer conditions, and welcome a new form of therapy.

"Aldara offers our patients an alternative to surgery in many cases. It is well tolerated and gives excellent cosmetic results as it is a non-scarring treatment," says Dr Taylor.

"Cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are common in New Zealand and, as a result, costs to the hospital service alone are estimated at $11.9 million dollars per year, so it's promising that there's another treatment option for skin cancer in New Zealand."

Studies also revealed that Aldara was effective in treating solar keratosis including previously undetected pre-cancerous sunspots1.

Aldara works by stimulating the body's own immune system to recognise and eliminate the pre-cancerous and cancerous skin cells.

Aldara has been used in New Zealand as a patient applied treatment for anogenital warts since 1998.


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