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Basal Cell Carcinoma
Old 04-24-2008, 10:13 AM   #1
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Basal Cell Carcinoma

I've just been told that I have basal cell carcinoma on one of the sites they biopsied last week. I am not overly concerned, as I know from my internet searches (where would we be without it) that it is very rarely fatal and I am certain that I got it early as I am extremely vigilant with my mole checking. Fortunately for me it is on my forehead and it can be covered by my bangs. I am seeing a Dr today to discuss a Mohs procedure.

Has anyone else has this lately and if so what did you do for treatment?
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:33 AM   #2
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I've had 3 basil cell carcinomas so far. There wasn't much in the way of sunscreen when I was a kid and I'm fair and tend to the redhead side of brown.

Each of my lesions was biopsied, then a second appointment for excision of some sort. One was on my ankle where there is not much flesh, so they scraped and burned that one. One was normal excision and the third was burned only.

I always wear sunscreen, try and keep covered up and see my dermatologist every 6 months for a checkup. Other than that, I don't even think of it.
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
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DangerMouse,

So sorry to hear about the diagnosis! I was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma two months ago. It was on my cheekbone by my left eye. My dermatologist recommend dessication and curettage (basically, she froze it with liquid nitrogen and then scraped it off, several times in one session). The other option she mentioned was excision, in which they cut it out and take some healthy tissue around it (to make sure it's all gone).

We decided to go with the dessication and curettage because the carcinoma had a very well defined bottom (like a boat, smooth and evenly curved, as opposed to fingerlike and projecting into the surrounding tissue). So she felt confident that the scraping method would get it all. It also leaves a smaller scar (since yours will be covered by your bangs this is less of a consideration, I assume).

It is VERY treatable, and it's likely that the removal is the only treatment you'll need. However, you're now considered higher risk for all skin cancers (including melanoma), as are your parents, siblings and children (at least, according to the skin cancer society's web page).

A nice resource for good sunscreens is the Environmental Working Group's cosmetic safety database. Several sunscreens either have suspected carcinogens in them (doh!) or break down when exposed to the sun, becoming useless. The website is www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:38 PM   #4
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I had Mohs done on the side of my nostril. It's a bummer to have a chunk of of your face removed, but I guess if it's in a place that your hair covers, that's a good thing. There will be some restrictions on you to help with the healing if you need a graft. Part of my graft didn't take well soo... there's a bit of scarring. Mohs is good in that they limit the amount of healthy surrounding tissue they take. Good luck.
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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I had Mohs done 1 1/2 yrs. ago on the right side of the bridge of my nose. They had to do 2 passes to get it all. The dermatologist wanted me to get a cosmetic surgeon to do a skin graft/flap job but I just wanted to be done with it and told the dermatolgist just to stitch it up. It took 7 stitches. After about 4 or 5 days I went back and he took out the stitches and other than redness you could hardly see that anything was done. After a few weeks the redness was gone and it looks normal. I've known others who had the cosmetic surgeon do the graft and they ended up with excess scar tissue and lumps. I'm sure it depends on how the individual heals.

I know I was freaked out beforehand looking at all the scary photos on the internet of Mohs surgery.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:21 PM   #6
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I had a basal cell removed from the left side of my forehead a couple of years ago using Mohs surgery. The weird thing is, that area is always covered by a hat. You'd think I would have gotten it in a more exposed area of the face. Anyhow, they just stitched it up and the scar is not very noticeable. Being bald, I don't have the "bangs" option I'm just thankful it's gone. My dermatologist checks me at least annually for any sign of recurrance.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:04 PM   #7
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I had it done about 15 years ago on the top of my ear. It was small, and the scar looked nasty for a while but it was hardly noticeable in less than a year. If I didn't know where it was I probably wouldn't notice it myself.

The worst part of it was hearing the word "cancer".
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:28 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone for your input. I am scheduled to have Mohs done in 10 days time. Fortunately due to the location it will be stitched and no need for a skin graft. I'm thinking of it as a mini face lift as the Dr told me I had plenty of loose skin to pull up to stitch, not really a diplomatic thing to say to a middle aged woman, but unfortunately so true.

I will admit I am not really bothered about it, as I know there are so many people out there battling much more serious health issues that a little scarring is not a big deal in the scheme of life. I'm really just so grateful to have my health.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:07 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your input. I am scheduled to have Mohs done in 10 days time. Fortunately due to the location it will be stitched and no need for a skin graft. I'm thinking of it as a mini face lift as the Dr told me I had plenty of loose skin to pull up to stitch, not really a diplomatic thing to say to a middle aged woman, but unfortunately so true.

I will admit I am not really bothered about it, as I know there are so many people out there battling much more serious health issues that a little scarring is not a big deal in the scheme of life. I'm really just so grateful to have my health.
Best Wishes on this DangerMouse. You've got the right attitude!

I've had four thingies removed over the years, all turned out to be benign. Due to fair skin, some severe sun burns as a child, family history of skin cancer and being prone to moles and other thingies, I keep an annual appointment with my dermatologist so he can check me out and update the "map."
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:42 AM   #10
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I hope it goes well for you. Im awaiting the results of a few biopsies taken this week.
I had a couple chunks excised recently and was surprised by the extent of what was removed big deep chunks compared to what I had imagined. But the procedure was painless and the aftermath was merely uncomfortable and itchy and for a while I had to constantly remind myself to take it easy on the lifting, stretching, etc. The excisions did leave scars some not like on themselves, but I dont mind them - have several others from other events anyway. I suppose if it were some place prominent on my face it might be nice to have some extra care taken to minimize scarring. Regardless, I have no doubt that its better to have the stuff diagnosed and remove that which needs removing than to let it kill me.
Skin cancer is an odd health problem to think about having: it starts seeming so trivial no pain, nothing dramatic or foreboding, just some odd skin, and its quite common. But it can kill. I guess there are a lot of things like that.

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Old 04-26-2008, 12:43 PM   #11
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Can you post a picture of the offending mole? I'm curious what a "bad" one looks like. Did you ask them to check it out or was it caught during a routine visit?
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Old 04-26-2008, 03:37 PM   #12
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Has anyone else has this lately and if so what did you do for treatment?
I have had over a dozen BCCs removed surgically over the last 3-4 years. Also, 3 Melanomas. After the initial shock, like anything else in life, no big deal.

Just get them removed ASAP and see the dermatologists about once every 3-4 months, be very, very careful when out in the sun, and drink plenty of beer. At least that's how I take care of mine.
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:44 PM   #13
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Can you post a picture of the offending mole? I'm curious what a "bad" one looks like. Did you ask them to check it out or was it caught during a routine visit?
Mine were not cancerous "yet", but were dysplastic nevi that are sometimes considered a precursor to melanoma. I dont have a pic of the moles since the doctor removed them, but they were irregular shaped.

Dysplastic nevus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My doc also said to be extremely watchful for moles between your toes.
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:49 PM   #14
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Mrs. Zipper's father was in the British Army in Burma in WWII. He was fair and a redhead just like Mrs. Zipper.

He had severely sunburned ears, emigrated to Canada in 1952, and proceeded to get frostbitten.

He had BCC on his sunburned frostbitten ears with no consequences.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:09 PM   #15
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Ronstar - I've got a "between the toes" mole. I've had it "forever" but I should probably get it checked. It was my "identifying feature" when they used to ask for one when I was in the military.

I'm thinking about taking pictures so I can have a visual baseline. Or does it not matter whether the mole has changed, only whether it looks right or wrong?
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:28 AM   #16
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Buckeye - you should probably get that between the toes mole checked out by a doctor. get a whole body check. I've got a few that seem like they are changing, and others that look wrong to me but the doctor says they are ok. My doctor takes them out if they look suspicious.
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Old 04-27-2008, 12:16 PM   #17
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I found a good site with side-by-side pictures. I'll be scheduling my appointment on Monday. I have two moles that have been the way they are for a long time (10+ years?) but they are a little "iffy" based on the pictures and the descriptions.

What You Need To Know About Moles - National Cancer Institute
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:30 AM   #18
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I don't have a picture of what the offending growth looked like. I was fortunate in that I was vigilant. When we were in Hawaii in February I had a bump come up on my temple area, in the hairline. Within a week it turned brown and the top layer peeled away leaving a pale bump. I was immediately suspicious, however it took me 8 weeks to get my act together and get to the dermatologist (not to be recommended having such a delay). I actually went to see her about another issue and on the way out I remembered the offending bump and mentioned it to her.

With something like skin cancer I believe it is worth being over cautious as if it is melanoma itself the survival odds are not good.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:13 PM   #19
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I saw my GP today and he removed the mole at my temple at the hairline. I had actually gone in just to get a referral to the dermatologist but my doc said he could do it right then. He said it would cost about 1/4 of what the dermatologist would charge and I wouldn't have to wait a month (I had already made the derm appointment).

The procedure was pretty painless. I've got a few stitches to show off! I'm glad it's gone although it's going to be a little strange not seeing it after having it for probably 15 years.

Doc said the "between the toes" mole was evenly colored with even borders and very symmetrical so he wasn't too worried about it.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:36 PM   #20
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I had a basal cell carcinoma removed several years ago. It left quite a scar, but it had become quite big before I realised it might be a problem and went to the doctor with it. I've never bothered with sunscreen because I just don't remember about it and I don't spend a lot of time out of doors, but I've had a couple of actinic keratoses frozen off in the meantime as well as various other sun-related benign lesions, so the dermatologist recommended using a moisturiser containing SPF 30 or 40 sunscreen instead of the usual moisturiser. So I'm doing that and hoping it'll help.
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