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wlm1
07-19-2008, 09:56 PM
Hi,

I have done my best to read up on these types of carcinoma and I feel like I have learned a lot. That said, I would really love to get some answers that are not so "textbook" from people who have dealt with a similar situation. Any help or comfort you can give me is greatly appreciated. I know it is long, but I'm really quite scared so if you have the time to do so, PLEASE read it and hopefully respond. :)

Background information: my father is a 55-year old Caucasian man. He never burns in the sun except for on his nose. He doesn't sunbathe or anything, but gardening, walking the dog, and other everyday activities do make him burn on his nose. Approximately 6 months ago, he noticed what he figured was another (infrequently gotten, but it happens sometimes) pimple on his nose. He did not intentionally pick this, but blew his nose and it broke open and bled. He wasn't concerned because, as anyone who went through puberty knows, this happens sometimes. No big deal, he figured. After a couple months of it being broken via blowing his nose, inadvertent contact, etc., he bought Neosporin and Band-Aids and diligently put them on his red nose sore. It diminished significantly, but, after he thought it was pretty much healed, he stopped applying these and broke it open and bloody again by blowing his nose. Six months since the pimple appeared, his sore is more raw-looking and cavernous than ever. It does not hurt him at all, it just looks really bad.

1. Is there any way that I can distinguish whether this is more likely to be basal or squamous cell carcinoma? He plans to go to the doctor some time this week to get it looked at, but I would like to read up more about the one that is more likely to be prevalent. (I hope to God it isn't either, but I still want to be as knowledgeable and prepared as possible.)

2. I have read that if you leave a sore from carcinoma "too long," it metastasizes. I have had trouble, though, finding out how long is "too long." I know it is probably different for everyone, but is there anybody out there who can give me a ballpark figure? I have been telling him to get it checked out for a while, but he's pretty stubborn and just recently has begun to get concerned. I'm hoping that "too long" is measured in years, but I don't know.

3. How long, on average, does it take to receive biopsy results for skin cancers?

4. To those who have dealt with this, what do you believe to be the most safe, reliable, and effective procedure to cure skin cancer?

5. How likely is it, if you are once diagnosed with either variety of carcinoma, that you will get this or any other variety of cancer again? Has this proven to be a "gateway cancer" of sorts to anybody here?

I sincerely hope that everyone here who is currently dealing or has dealt with skin cancer is doing well. Thank you so much for any help you can give me.

Rick7799
07-22-2008, 03:28 PM
1. Go to a search engine and type in the types of cancer and images or pictures. There are some good pictures out there.

2. All cancers spread. Basal cells are usually the slowest to grow. The thing is, there is no set time. They can take years to get to the point where you can be in trouble. On the other hand they can grow much faster.

3. My doctor had it done in less than a week.

4. I have had dozens of basal cells in my life. The first one about 20 years ago. As soon as one pops up I get right in. The first one though, I did wait more than a year. For me, he either freezes them off or he uses a laser to burn it off. Either procedure can be done as long as it's not to deep. I have never had one come back in the same spot.

5. If you get one basal cell, you will probably get more. The thing is to catch them early. From the tone of your letter it sounds like you think it's a death sentence. It's not. Basal cell or squamous cell are the easiest to treat of all cancers. Even Melanoma is treatable if caught early. Calm down. I am 54 and I had my first one at 33. I am no worse for wear. I am pretty good at diagnosing them myself.

Have him get in as soon as possible and have it looked at for your peace of mind. The worst part is the worrying. I quit that years ago.

ruth ann
07-23-2008, 08:29 AM
Dear Wlm1,

Good for you for researching your father's situation and especially for encouraging him to see a specialist. But don't try to second guess his condition when it's really the dr.'s examination, biopsy results and treatment
plan that will determine this. It will just stress you out more. Just make sure he gets to the dr. The dr. will tell both you and him what you need to know.

In answer to your questions:

1. I agree with Rick. Do a search engine search for pictures of the different types and descriptions of basal and squamos cell cancers. Also read the descriptions.
I never did see a photo of anything like my bcc, but there were a no. of very accurate written descriptions on different websites, which finally alerted me to the problem. I'm not sure, at this point, why you are trying to figure out
if it's bcc, or squamos - I believe the treatment and outcomes are more or less the same. I would wait until you at least find out if your father even needs a biopsy before you start trying to decide what kind of skin cancer he has. Also, the dr. will probably be able to determine this just by looking at him.

2. Skin cancers, both bcc and squamos are very slow growing, generally.
A malignant melanoma would be another story.

3. Biopsy results usually take between 10 days and 2 wks. If you're lucky,
and are persistant, you may get them earlier. I got mine in a week.

4. As far as an effective treatment for skin cancer on the nose, I will get up
on my Moh's Surgery soapbox, and insist to you that Moh's Surgery is the only way to go for facial skin cancers. Especially on the nose. I am finding out that many dermatologists are not trained in Moh's and do not offer
it. They just go in and scoop out the cancer and hope they get it all. You run the risk of recurrance and also facial disfiguration. Moh's is very accurate, a 98% cure rate, and removes only the minimal amount of skin tissue to get the cancer. Less poss. of scarring and disfiguring. If he needs surgery, make
sure he has Moh's. If his derma. doesn't do Moh's, switch to someone who does.

5. Your last question about this possibly being a "gateway" to other types of cancers really depends on the type of cancer he is diagnosed with (if it is, indeed a cancer). I posed this question at my last derma. check up. I have had bcc, and I asked if this predisposed me to other types of skin cancers, ie.
malignant melanoma. The physician's asst. told me that skin cancers are usually genetic, and don't "cross over" into other types of skin cancers. She explained that because I have had a bcc, while I am now 40% more likely to get another bcc, I am not necessarily predisposed to get malignant melanoma.
I have read otherwise on this Board. But there are also some very exceptional and extreme cases here. If your father's biopsy reveals the problem to be a malignant melanoma, it's more serious, and yes, I have read about this type of cancer mestasizing into other areas.

The main thing right now is to make sure your father gets to the dr. He must be in professonal hands for this. You shouldn't try to second guess his condition - you will only worry more. Leave it to the professionals to advise you accurately about what it is that your father is suffering from, and what
the best treatment should be.

Good luck.

Ruth Ann

BigL
07-25-2008, 02:00 PM
4. As far as an effective treatment for skin cancer on the nose, I will get up
on my Moh's Surgery soapbox, and insist to you that Moh's Surgery is the only way to go for facial skin cancers. Especially on the nose. I am finding out that many dermatologists are not trained in Moh's and do not offer
it. They just go in and scoop out the cancer and hope they get it all. You run the risk of recurrance and also facial disfiguration. Moh's is very accurate, a 98% cure rate, and removes only the minimal amount of skin tissue to get the cancer. Less poss. of scarring and disfiguring. If he needs surgery, make
sure he has Moh's. If his derma. doesn't do Moh's, switch to someone who does.



I saw one lady on google who had MOHS and it was pretty disfiguring. She needed plastic surgery afterwards. I gues it varies from one person to the next.

wlm1
07-25-2008, 10:40 PM
Hi again,

Thanks so much for all of your comments. It was said that it appears to be basal cell carcinoma. He has gotten the biopsy and we are waiting on the results. Again, thank you so much for all of your advice, kind words, and assistance. I genuinely appreciate it.

ruth ann
07-26-2008, 06:40 AM
Hi, BigL -

Yes, you are so right: skin cancer on the face can be very disfiguring, no matter how it's treated.

If the woman you saw was disfigured after having Moh's, just imagine what she'd look like if her dr. had just tried to scoop out the cancer with regular
surgery.

They either would have had to take out more of her facial tissue to be sure they got all the cancer, or too little and maybe not gotten all of it, which would mean a repeat surgery.

Moh's is more precise than regular surgery and will result in MINIMAL disfiguration, with a 98% cure rate. Obviously if someone comes in with a
facial cancer that's already eaten thru half their face, even Moh's will
leave disfigurement. The point is that it will be a lot less than with regular surgery.

And yes, it's very common after many skin cancer surgeries, including Moh's.
to follow up with a plastic surgeon for corrective work. In fact, many plastic surgeons actually do Moh's surgery.


Best,

Ruth Ann