This health video will focus on healing the damage done by the sun and What is new in the treatment of skin cancer.
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Jeremy Smithberger: I live in Florida and I probably haven't been to the beach in two years. Dr. Dean Edell: Jeremy Smithberger spends his workday in and out of his car. Jeremy Smithberger: I don't like sunbathe or anything. I suppose it's just normal exposure. Dr. Dean Edell: When he noticed a couple of strange spots on his face, Jeremy saw a dermatologist. Jeremy Smithberger: They did a biopsy on this one and sent it in and a few days later, they called me and told me that it was a basal cell skin cancer on my forehead. Dr. Dean Edell: Instead of surgery, Jeremy opted to use Imiquimod, an immune response modifier. Dr. Vernon Sondak: We've been able to create some drugs that target those receptors and basically trigger the immune system into thinking, here is something dangerous, here is something I need to react to. Dr. Deal Edell: First used to treat warts, the drug was found to be effective in treating basal cell cancers and a pre-cancer called actinic keratosis. Because of its strength, Imiquimod can have side-effects. Dr. Vernon Sondak: A lot of redness, a lot of swelling sometime and even an ulcer that can take some time to heal. We’ve used it for different types of skin cancers on the face; it has to be done very carefully. Jeremy Smithberger: It healed up and it’s gone now. So I was very happy that I didn’t have to have surgery in my eyebrow raised. Dr. Dean Edell: I’m Dr. Dean Edell.