Hole in the head: Black salve warning

The TGA issued a warning in 2012 advising patients not to use the salves, which were widely available online and advertised as an alternative treatment for skin cancer.

Now doctors from the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, have highlighted the case of a 55-year-old man who presented with a tissue defect on his right temple.

The patient had applied black salve for four months to a lesion he believed to be cancerous and eventually went to the emergency department of the hospital seeking treatment. 

Dr Natalie Ong, a junior house officer, said patients risked recurrence and metastasis by commencing alternative treatment before a diagnosis of skin cancer. 

“In this case, there was no surgical intervention,” she told Medical Observer

“We just applied a dressing and antibacterial washes and it healed naturally, although there will

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