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Old 04-12-2007, 04:39 PM   #1
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Unhappy basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

I had a biopsy (shave biopsy) 7 days ago during my annual skin cancer checkup. Doctor called today telling me the biopsy is basal cell and will be removing the cancer in May. Doctor will be cutting around 2-3mm on each side of skin cancer growth and then will stitch. My question is two years ago I had a bcc on my nose (side) and the doctor (different derm) froze it off and two years later it's still gone. Is Mohs the way to go, or should I feel safe with my new derms procedure? How long does a procedure like this take and how painful will it be. It's right on my bra line so I'm not sure how uncomfortable it will be. I thank GOD for skin cancer checks as it proves you have to be proactive about your health. I will admit I'm a bit frightened...but...i'm a toughie! Rose

 
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Old 04-12-2007, 07:35 PM   #2
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

It all depends at what stage basal cell spots are as to whether surgery or freezing is the best way.

I have had 3 basal cell spots removed by surgery. The pre-spots were frozen.
One spot on arm required radiation after surgery.

If you have a problem with sun damage spots, you may be interested in "Effudex Cream". This is a cream that kills the cells in the early stage. My husband used it on his forehead and head. It will rustle up sun damage spots you would never see with the naked eye. Stops them in their tracks. Talk to your dermatologist about using Effudex. My skin is too sensitive to use Effudex.

 
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Old 04-20-2007, 08:41 AM   #3
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Misty800 View Post
It all depends at what stage basal cell spots are as to whether surgery or freezing is the best way.

I have had 3 basal cell spots removed by surgery. The pre-spots were frozen.
One spot on arm required radiation after surgery.

If you have a problem with sun damage spots, you may be interested in "Effudex Cream". This is a cream that kills the cells in the early stage. My husband used it on his forehead and head. It will rustle up sun damage spots you would never see with the naked eye. Stops them in their tracks. Talk to your dermatologist about using Effudex. My skin is too sensitive to use Effudex.
thank you for your info. How long did it take to recover from the stiches of skin cancer removal? Also, two years ago I asked my derm about aldira cream but she was against it. I did some reading on the effudex as I have quite a few ak's an sk's on my face which I would LOVE to get rid of before they turn cancerous.

 
Old 04-20-2007, 07:39 PM   #4
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Hello Rose,

You asked if MOHS is the route to go. Is your insurance paying for the procedure? I asked my dermatologist what makes them decide to do MOHS, and he told me that if the cancer is anywhere from the chin up and is a large lesion, that most insurance companies will pay for MOHS. If it's beneath the jawline, most don't.

I had a MOHS procedure on the basal cell carcinoma on the tip of my nose,(first skin cancer, didn't know what it was, let it go far too long.) I'm sure you've heard that the procedure may take quite an amount of time as they only take a small area, have a lab tech check to see if there is more cancer, and if there is, they will keep repeating the removal process until they're sure they have it all. It took 5 times during my procedure to get it all. The cancer had gone into my cartilage and gave me a pretty large 3rd nostril on the tip of my nose. I have to say, I think the worst part was the hatchet flap to cover up the hole. That alone took 90 minutes. This may be a bit graphic, but unfortunately, that's a bad case of Basal Cell and that's how MOHS works. No one at the Doctor's office told me what to expect, but fortunately, I met someone who had had 4 MOHS procedures, who gave me a little mental preperation. I was glad I met her and had my husband come for support. Driving home would have been a difficult task.

All in all the MOHS procedure saves more of the healthy skin and makes for minimal scarring. I may not have relished the experience, and I never want to do it again, but the MOHS was the best resolution in my case. It was an emotional time for me, as I was pregnant and didn't even know it, but that's another story. All's well now.

According to your Doctor's explanation, it sounds like you are fortunate, because the Dermatologist doesnt' expect that it may have gone deep. The scar should'nt be too visible. My scar starts between my eyebrows and runs down the left side of my nose, all the way to the tip. It's still visible to me, but most people don't see it unless my makeup has worn thin or they know that I had the procedure. At first, my dermatologist reccomended that I cover it with under-eye makeup, the little green stick, and then apply my foundation. You may want to try that after you've healed enough for makeup, if the scar is unsightly. It should tone down quite a bit after a few months, but it sounds like yours isn't large and should heal quite nicely.

Good luck, and keep catching those things when they're little.

Last edited by seajay; 04-21-2007 at 09:41 AM.

 
Old 04-23-2007, 06:32 AM   #5
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Thank you for sharing your story with me. It meant alot to me. Just yesterday I felt so scared as my derm noticed a mole on my breast and measured it, ect. She told me that if it starts to itch or bleed to call right away. Well, it was oozing a little blood yesterday and because this is a dark, uneven edged (all the abcd's) i'm very worried. I just called the derm and they will call the clinic and get back to me today. My husband has heart disease (we are both 44) and I need to stay strong for my sons and him. How does one do this???

 
Old 04-23-2007, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Rose,

I feel for you. We are the same age! I started getting skin cancer (Basal Cell) when I was 37. Since then, I have had several AK's, another wierd lesion that I forget the name of...starts out big, and then goes up like a volcano, and a squamous cell carcinoma. Sooo, the big M, is a scary thing. If you have a history of skin cancer, I don't think you can be too cautious.

Your lesion sound unsettling. I'm hoping for you that if it's anything, it's superficial. It's so difficult to tell. I had a lesion on my the lip of my eyelid, it rubbed my eye and scabbed over, bled, and scabbed over again. It wouldn't go away. I was referred to a Plastic Surgeon who specifically does eyes. After removing it, it turned out to be benign, but it sure was bothering my eye and wouldn't go away. Sometimes, it's best just to have suspicious lesions removed.

Well wishes for your husband. I'm sorry you are going through so much at once. It's difficult to be strong for so many people. I just cancelled my 6 month check up with my dermatologist because I have appointments with other doctors. Some other health concerns have arisen. Bad me, but I'm pretty sure I don't have anything suspicoius on my skin right now.

I feel for you. Sometimes life gives you a whole lot to test your character and I'm pretty much of a character...this testing stuff isn't so necessary. If you can, it may help to see a funny movie to take your mind off more serious things. I was lucky my cousin came for a visit and we went to see a good one. The laughter was a temporary fix of healing I needed.

Take care of yourself...always.

 
Old 04-23-2007, 06:44 PM   #7
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

I just had basal cell removed from my upper shoulder at the beginning of February. It wasn't that big of a deal, but I found that the "dissolvable stiches" she used weren't as dissolvable as they claimed to be! I ended up needing to go back a month later to have them removed! It did slow down the healing process, so I think that was part of the problem.

The mark where she cut out the basal cell is still red, and it's been about 2 months now. But I guess it has faded a little. I'm trying to use Emu Oil to smooth it out, and my massage therapist says it's getting better, but I guess I just wanted it to be gone by now.

It still itches sometimes, but not as much as it used to. And if I press on it with too much pressure, then I find that it still hurts a little.

The removal procedure really wasn't that bad. Once she had the area numbed up enough, I didn't actually feel anything. So that was good! It only started hurting after the numbing agent wore off later that day. But that wasn't even that bad, either.

 
Old 04-23-2007, 09:18 PM   #8
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Thank you for the info on the procedure and healing process. How many stitches did you have or do they even tell you that anymore? They didn't disolve properly? I'm glad you didn't get an infection of any type. Did you have to put bacterial ointment on it or wear a large bandaid? How long did the procedure take with the doctor? When I had the shave biopsy it wasn't bad at all, but once the novacaine wore off I did feel pain in my arm which was odd, but I contributed it to the needle w/novacaine. It sounds like you are quite the trooper! Thanks for the oil advise. What color was your basal cell and did you have it for long? I'm worried about the mole on my breast that began to bleed as it is dark brown, whereas the basal on my shoulder was not. Nor was the one on my nose two years ago. I will keep positive as I will see my derm on Wednesday about the mole on my breast as she told me if it bleeds to call (this was when she did the shave biopsy on shoulder). Doesn't it start bleeding/oozing on Saturday! I go in on May 9th for the shoulder bcc removal and this Wednesday I will have her re-check the mole that is now bleeding. I'm glad you are doing well and I thank God for this website as it has helped me not feel so isolated with my family and my own health issues. I really appreciate all that you described of the procedure that you went through as the bcc on my nose was removed via liquid nitro. Your story is very descriptive and I have a much better idea of what to expect. I'm good at handling pain, but am a worrier too! Thank you and may you continue to heal!

 
Old 04-23-2007, 09:33 PM   #9
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Dear Seajay,
We DO have much in common! I took your advice and went and saw a funny movie...and I laughed! Today my youngest turned 14 so watching him at his tennis match, then dinner and cake, was bittersweet. My 17 year old came home today from a 13 day trip (school trip) to the Pantanal in Brazil. What a special, special day to be with my family. Most special of all was reading your post as I felt that "I'm not alone" feeling I so desperately needed today. I thank you so, so much for putting my mind at ease today. We have been through many "life tests" and the "tests" are not slowing down...and have not stopped since 2001...I tell my friends it makes me a stronger person....ha....this board has helped me deal with these health issues as I'm talking with people like you have been there, are there, and can humor me and others with our stories.

I don't blame you for cancelling your six-month skin cancer check up. I hope your other health issues are not too bad? I can tell you that I've had to cancel my skin cancer check ups and I wonder if my derm would have caught the bcc on my shoulder as I didn't and believe me, I check me all the time! I was surprised when she saw it two weeks ago as it is right on my bra line and looked nothing like the one on my nose two years ago or the brown ick mole on my breast that DID decide to bleed...am I am frightened of what it can be given my family history...I must be positive, right? I agree too with the fact that you can never be too cautious.

Seajay, thank you, and I hope you are well...I will keep you posted on this site as to what my derm thinks when I see her on Wednesday. Oh-I saw Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell (sp) this afternoon and was laughing out loud and I thank you for your advice! Happy days to you! Rose

 
Old 04-24-2007, 06:23 AM   #10
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Thank you for the info on the procedure and healing process. How many stitches did you have or do they even tell you that anymore?

There were only 3. I mean, when I looked at it in the mirror, I could see 3 rows of stiches, so I'm going to say 3. It wasn't that large of an area.


They didn't disolve properly? I'm glad you didn't get an infection of any type.

Well, I thought it was still infected because every time I took off the band-aid I saw that it had been bleeding on the band-aid. And a month after the stiches were put in, I thought it was weird that it hadn't started healing yet.

Did you have to put bacterial ointment on it or wear a large bandaid?

Yes, I used the generic triple antibiotic ointment available at most drugstores and wore a band-aid on it for a long time. It's right up near the top of my shoulder, and since I wear wide collared shirts, it's always visible. That's why I kept putting a band-aid on it. But about a week after the stiches were removed, when I knew it wasn't bleeding anymore, I stopped wearing the band-aid.

How long did the procedure take with the doctor?

Actually, she was running late for some reason, so I ended up waiting a lot longer than it actually took to do the procedure! My wait time was over 45 minutes! But the actual procedure was only like 20 minutes or so. She just did it right in her office.


What color was your basal cell and did you have it for long?

It was actually red the whole time. And it just looked like a pimple that kept itching and started bleeding a lot. I never realized what it was, and since it was on my back, I never really looked at it. I didn't think anything of it when I checked it with a mirror, it just looked to me like a regular pimple! But at my last yearly checkup with the dermatologist, she said, Oh dear, this looks like basal cell! I was freaking out and said no way! But both my parents and grandmothers had it, too, so I guess it's not all that surprising. Too much sunburn as a kid they say. I guess I had a lot of sunburns on my shoulders when I was younger.

I really appreciate all that you described of the procedure that you went through as the bcc on my nose was removed via liquid nitro. Your story is very descriptive and I have a much better idea of what to expect. I'm good at handling pain, but am a worrier too! Thank you and may you continue to heal!

No problem! I'm here to help!

 
Old 04-24-2007, 03:18 PM   #11
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Quote:
Originally Posted by rose827 View Post
Dear Seajay,


Seajay, thank you, and I hope you are well...I will keep you posted on this site as to what my derm thinks when I see her on Wednesday. Oh-I saw Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell (sp) this afternoon and was laughing out loud and I thank you for your advice! Happy days to you! Rose
I'm glad you got the chance to have a little fun time. We didn't see Blades of Glory, but we considered it. We saw Wild Hogs, and it was laugh out loud funny too.

I hope you can get in soon to your Dermatologist. Keep us posted.

 
Old 04-26-2007, 06:15 AM   #12
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed update

My dermatologist did do a punch biopsy on the bleeding mole yesterday from my right breast. When I asked her if she thought it could be a melanoma given the dark color, abcd's, she said it could just be a bleeding mole. Since she had time, she went ahead and removed the basal cell cancer from my shave biopsy of April 5th though it was scheduled for May 9th. I have a 5 mm long incision with about six stiches. What a horrible sleep last night as both sides of me are in stiches (no pun intended!). I didn't expect to have the basal cell removed, but am glad she did it. She will call me with the results of both the breast biopsy and the basal cell removal (margins, ect). I am worried since she did not to a punch biopsy on the shoulde two weeks ago, she did a shave biopsy with no stiches need. WHY the punch biopsy????

 
Old 04-26-2007, 07:50 AM   #13
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Well, the basal is gone now. As for your other lesion, I don't know the answer. Maybe someone else knows more about the reasons derm's choose different types of biopsies. I think she may be leaning towards the side of caution. I know it's hard, but try not to worry. (Everyone says that to me too...doesn't always work.)

Did your dermatologist indicate how long it would take to get your lab results back?

 
Old 04-26-2007, 09:55 AM   #14
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Hi Seajay,
My derm said she will call in a week with both biopsy results. You're right about not worrying, we still do. But I have my teens to put a good front on for and as I've said, thank God for skin cancer checks. I took a picture of the stitches so one day I can become a skin cancer advocate! Too many of my good friends are still in the booths and sunning away outside unprotected. My boys have never had a sunburn whereas I've had countless blistered burns. I will rent Wildhogs...laughter is best. I hope all is well with you Seajay! Happy day to you! Rose

 
Old 04-29-2007, 06:19 AM   #15
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Re: basal cell on shoulder/collarbone confirmed

Dear Friends,
I am having a difficult time staying focussed while waiting for the results of the bleeding mole punch biopsy on five days ago. It's just tough...this waiting. My collarbone basal cell removal five days ago has 10 stiches, so I'm assuming my derm did get all the cancer. My husband counted the stitches. When I see the stitches on my breast from the biopsy, I feel queasy and anxious. If only the mole wasn't dark, ect. My husband has his six month heart stress test in June after having his fifth stent in November since 2001 major heart attack. I'm anxious...trying to cope while feeling the discomfort of the stitches is dragging me down. I know it could be worse.

 
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