Aldara Treatment for Skin Cancer

Aldara (imiquimod) is a prescription cream used for treating superficial cancerous lesions.

What is Aldara Treatment?

Aldara is a cream that works by encouraging the immune system to kill the cancerous cells that are in skin cancer.

While it has previously been used to treat numerous skin conditions, the main use in modern dermatology is to treat superficial basal cell carcinomas (BCCs). It is also used as an alternative for people who are unable to tolerate Efudix.

Unfortunately, it is thought to be less effective than Efudix, particularly for actinic keratosis and actinic field damage.

In some people, due to the inflammatory reaction that it triggers, there is a risk of scarring. As a result, we try to avoid using imiquimod in cosmetically sensitive areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Aldara cream used for?

This cream is used for the treatment of particular lesions or growths on the skin. These can include superficial basal cell carcinomas, actinic keratoses (precancerous growths), and even genital warts or anal warts.

How long does it take for Aldara to work?

It takes some time for the cream to be effective. Around 5 days after the prescribed application, your skin will most likely be quite sore, swollen, and red. The third week after starting your treatment is usually when the skin reaction is most severe at the application site. Experiencing cracking, blistering, peeling, and scabbing of the skin is to be expected.

Does Aldara really work?

When applied to the skin properly, the cream can offer a 70% probability of curing some skin malignancies1. If a minor cancer is surgically removed, there is a 97%+ probability that it will be cured.

Is Aldara a chemotherapy cream?

Different kinds of topical chemotherapeutic ointments exist. The actual chemotherapeutic agents are 5-fluorouracil creams (Efudix and Carac), which directly kill aberrant cells. Imiquimod (Aldara), on the other hand, is an immune response modifier that works differently by triggering immune cells to carry out the killing.


  • Mehta V, Balachandran C. Pigmented basal cell carcinoma successfully treated with 5% Imiquimod cream. Indian J Dermatol. 2008;53(3):140-1. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.43204. PMID: 19882014; PMCID: PMC2763750.