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Old 04-01-2010, 12:24 PM   #1
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Is this skin cancer?

My Dad (who is 70 years old) showed me last night that he has a red "sore" on the right side of his face just forward of his ear. It's not that noticeable to me, so I've never seen it before, but he says it's been there for about 2 months. He says that it's sensitive to touch and he's put salves, etc. on it hoping to heal it but it hasn't worked. He assumed it was something normal and would heal on its own but is now concerned because it's been there for 2 months.

Is this something that sounds like it could be skin cancer? That's our big worry right now.

 
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Old 04-01-2010, 01:37 PM   #2
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Re: Is this skin cancer?

It might be, and then again, it might not be. If it is a type of skin cancer, it would probably be squamous or basal which does affect the elderly most commonly and can be taken care of fairly easily. Either of these cancers are not typical fatal.

Have your father see a dermatologist and get a look see. If it is something unusual, the dermatologist will schedule a biopsy (or do one that day). If it is cancerous, there will be a portion of skin removed from the area, and a bit of plastic surgery will need to be done to make the area less noticeable. Believe me, at your father's age, this is not all that uncommon.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

 
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:10 PM   #3
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Re: Is this skin cancer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chele60 View Post
It might be, and then again, it might not be. If it is a type of skin cancer, it would probably be squamous or basal which does affect the elderly most commonly and can be taken care of fairly easily. Either of these cancers are not typical fatal.

Have your father see a dermatologist and get a look see. If it is something unusual, the dermatologist will schedule a biopsy (or do one that day). If it is cancerous, there will be a portion of skin removed from the area, and a bit of plastic surgery will need to be done to make the area less noticeable. Believe me, at your father's age, this is not all that uncommon.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
Thank you for all the info! I told him last night that he should go to a doctor, but he says he doesn't like doing that because he's afraid of what they might say. He did the same thing when he had a rash on on side of his body that wouldn't go away. Turned out to be shingles.

I'll tell him again that he should go. I think there's plenty of reasons for him to go this time.

If its a tumor that's NOT malignant, would that also mean it's not deadly? I think I read somewhere that most skin cancers are not malignant.

 
Old 04-02-2010, 09:11 AM   #4
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Re: Is this skin cancer?

You're welcome!

I can certainly understand your father's hesitancy in seeing a doctor. Why go to a doctor and possibly hear bad news, when you can not go and live in blissful ignorance? The problem is if your father has either squamous or basal cell cancer, these can eventually become fatal if left untreated. Let me explain it this way:

Melanoma is the least common of skin cancers, but one of the fastest growing and most aggressive of skin cancers. If left untreated, and melanoma reaches stage IV, average life expectancy is 6 - 9 months.

Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are slow growing cancers. They can inhabit the skin for years without threatening one's life. They might grow bigger on the surface, but it takes a long time for them to grow deep enough to affect the lymph system, which is how skin cancers spread. Melanoma (especially nodular melanoma) grows quickly and can reach the lymph system much faster, which then spreads to the lymph nodes and then onto other organs. Basal & squamous cancers don't grow that fast.

However, if left untreated, basal and squamous cancers do grow - they are cancers, after all. And if left to grow, they will eventually grow deep enough into the skin to affect the lymph system. There have been deaths attributed to both of these cancers, just not in the numbers of, say, melanoma. How long does it take either of these two cancer to grow to the point of reaching the lymph system? It varies from person to person. But this I can tell you: death from skin cancer (or any cancer, really) is not a pleasant experience for anyone.

There is also the appearance of the skin. I'm sure the lesion on your father's face is probably bothering him. The procedure for a biopsy might be a little painful, but is it worth his life? And there is a possibility that it might not be cancerous at all. In that case, whatever this is would be gone and he would no longer have to deal with it.

I hope you can convince your father to see a doctor, if just for a consultation. A lot of doctors can tell by looking whether something is to be concerned about or not.

Good luck!

 
Old 04-02-2010, 11:41 AM   #5
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Re: Is this skin cancer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chele60 View Post
You're welcome!

I can certainly understand your father's hesitancy in seeing a doctor. Why go to a doctor and possibly hear bad news, when you can not go and live in blissful ignorance? The problem is if your father has either squamous or basal cell cancer, these can eventually become fatal if left untreated. Let me explain it this way:

Melanoma is the least common of skin cancers, but one of the fastest growing and most aggressive of skin cancers. If left untreated, and melanoma reaches stage IV, average life expectancy is 6 - 9 months.

Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are slow growing cancers. They can inhabit the skin for years without threatening one's life. They might grow bigger on the surface, but it takes a long time for them to grow deep enough to affect the lymph system, which is how skin cancers spread. Melanoma (especially nodular melanoma) grows quickly and can reach the lymph system much faster, which then spreads to the lymph nodes and then onto other organs. Basal & squamous cancers don't grow that fast.

However, if left untreated, basal and squamous cancers do grow - they are cancers, after all. And if left to grow, they will eventually grow deep enough into the skin to affect the lymph system. There have been deaths attributed to both of these cancers, just not in the numbers of, say, melanoma. How long does it take either of these two cancer to grow to the point of reaching the lymph system? It varies from person to person. But this I can tell you: death from skin cancer (or any cancer, really) is not a pleasant experience for anyone.

There is also the appearance of the skin. I'm sure the lesion on your father's face is probably bothering him. The procedure for a biopsy might be a little painful, but is it worth his life? And there is a possibility that it might not be cancerous at all. In that case, whatever this is would be gone and he would no longer have to deal with it.

I hope you can convince your father to see a doctor, if just for a consultation. A lot of doctors can tell by looking whether something is to be concerned about or not.

Good luck!
I called him yesterday to tell him what you said. I suggested making a doctor appointment yesterday to possibly go there today, and now he said it probably wouldn't hurt to wait until after the weekend. I tried to argue with him about that, but he thinks that since it's already been 2 months, why not wait several more days??? I'll keep after him about. Thanks again!

 
Old 04-22-2010, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: Is this skin cancer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chele60 View Post
It might be, and then again, it might not be. If it is a type of skin cancer, it would probably be squamous or basal which does affect the elderly most commonly and can be taken care of fairly easily. Either of these cancers are not typical fatal.

Have your father see a dermatologist and get a look see. If it is something unusual, the dermatologist will schedule a biopsy (or do one that day). If it is cancerous, there will be a portion of skin removed from the area, and a bit of plastic surgery will need to be done to make the area less noticeable. Believe me, at your father's age, this is not all that uncommon.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
Well, finally my Dad went to the doctor after seeing the sore on his face get a little big bigger--and after 3 months of procrastinating! It turned out to be what the doctor called "precancerous". They treated it by spraying liquid nitrogen on it. There's now a bumpy reddish area there which the doctor said should clear up within a couple weeks. He told my dad to come back if it didn't.
I'm sure glad he finally went there, but I wish he'd learn a lesson from the past about waiting and just GO! This could've been bad. He told me that he was able to get to the doctor right away because someone else had just cancelled their appointment. Otherwise, the wait would have been one more month!

 
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