Customers’ Questions: How can alternative therapies treat skin cancer?

This a very thorny one…

There are four commonly known cancers that affect the skin and a multitude of ‘alternative therapies’. Presuming this to mean treatment given by someone other than an oncologist, dermatologist or medical specialist.

It is very important to establish which one you are treating.

Melanoma is the one that is usually the most serious; it can grow very quickly and spread to other areas in the body. I am sure there are treatments offered for this other than surgery, immunotherapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, typically recommended by medical specialists, but I would be very hesitant to try these. It often metastasises quickly, so spending time investigating possible other treatments could mean the difference between sorting a local skin cancer relatively simply, and dealing with a wide-spread, complicated cancer.

Basal cell, Merkel and squamous cell are not usually as dangerous and often detected in an early stage. If they appear on the face, are very large or the patient doesn’t have good general health or has a poor immune response, then, again, the most sensible option is still one of those offered in a hospital environment (which isn’t necessarily surgery or radiotherapy).

Having said that, there are other treatments than can and do work on early stage pre-cancerous skin lesions - those that may develop into squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas if left untreated. I have used a modified recipe, originally developed by Dr Ron Guba with success on solar keratoses and early squamous cell carcinomas (his findings can be found in various places online, including It is a simple formula and easy to use, if there is no significant improvement within six weeks, you can presume this treatment will not help. He recommends a mixture of the following: Sandalwood oil -Santalum spicatum 13.3%, Frankincense - Boswellia carterii 6.7%, Sweet orange oil - Citrus sinensis 6.7%, Geranuim - Pelargonium graveolens 6.7%. These are mixed into jojoba oil and melted beeswax to make an ointment that is easy to apply: Jojoba 46.6% and Beeswax 20%.

These are high percentages of essential oils and the ointment isn’t intended to be used on skin not affected. People with allergies to these oils should not use this and anyone who has had a bad skin reaction to any essential oils should proceed with caution. It is also vital that there has been a diagnosis before starting this as it could badly irritate a fungal infection, a wound or an allergic skin reaction. Even when you are certain this is going on a solar keratosis, it can be irritating and as the affected skin begins to come away, it can bleed (between week 4 and five of the treatment below, the site bled periodically). I have also given it to several people who had no irritation and it removed the offending lumps. The progression tends to be: a drying of the central part, a wart-like appearance and splitting of the surface, a crater-effect around the central mass, the central piece begins to come away, sometimes in sections. The skin then heals leaving very little evidence of a keratosis having been on the site.

So, this is technically, an alternative method of treatment, but one that sits fairly happily alongside other modes of treatment.

My own photos of a solar keratosis removed using a modified version of Dr Guba’s recipe - both he and Robert Tisserand have other examples. This person had 15 removed in a similar way.