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  • Life after skin cancer

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    Old 11-13-2004, 07:34 AM   #1
    donnapc2
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    Life after skin cancer

    I am 42 and was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer 2 years ago. I had the growth removed w/ clean margins the first time. I recently had a precancerous growth removed.. How do you learn not to think the worse of every mole and freckle. Unfortunately I have many of both. The dr. said to come back in 6 months. If I had my way and the money I would be checked every month. It makes me anxious to think I am putting my complete trust in this one persons hands. So many people talk about how their growth didn't look about anything to worry about, but was. I feel it is only a matter of time before I hear the dreaded "M" word. I had alot of sunburns as a child, but I wear sunscreen all the time now. I know this is just the beginning of a life long battle. I really don't want to see a therapist about this, but want to know how others deal wth this on their own. My main concern is my 3 small children.

     
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    Old 11-13-2004, 07:50 AM   #2
    BonBe
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    Re: Life after skin cancer

    Well Donna, in all honesty I as of yet have to come to grips with my nasty bout with MM. Yes my mole was not thought to be anything other than a ugly black lumpy black bean thing, yet it was not. Even going in for the excision biopsy not mad rush, until the results showed the worst case scenerio. Then things moved so fast my head spun (still is spinning) had major wide local excision (scar is 7 inches from shoulder to shoulder) and nice big dip in the back hahha small price to pay though, cos the margins which were wide were CLEAR.....

    I have not learned to be nonchalant about it either. Of course this for me was just back in September so still fresh. I go to a cancer hospital every 3 months for 2 years, then every 6 months for 3 years then every year for rest of my life.

    CT scans every six months if called for. (am due for my second one next month) It is scary.

    I too do not wish to freak out and run to the doctor each time a mole appears or a skin tag (which I have plenty) darken, or a wee bump appears but it seems I will prob have to, as it must be made clear in our own minds we are ok. Right at the moment "quote" " As far as we can tell, you are disease free" yet they also in same breath tell me suspicious nodules were picked up from the CT scan in my chest!! so what the heck? I am running basically in automatic pilot these days.

    I am sorry I cannot advise you, only to let yoj know that we are all feeling this way as well. Do not dread the future, deal with things as they come, lit may not ever get to the MM stage, for you, and just be vigilant in your checks on moles and bumps and things.

    Bonnie

     
    Old 11-13-2004, 07:53 AM   #3
    BonBe
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    Re: Life after skin cancer

    and a P.S. Donna

    My herd of oncologists do not suggest relying only on sun screen, I am to avoid the sun, wear long pants, no shorts, long sleeve shirts, not short sleeve (or even long skirts) and wide brimmed hats. I am 54 and we go camping, and I have NEVER EVER been a sun worshipper but was burned a few times as a child, even as a baby, as it was thought back then that babies need VIT D from the sun to grow strong HA but our mothers were told this, and unfort mine left me a touch too long.

    Bonnie

     
    Old 11-13-2004, 02:11 PM   #4
    TampaSal51
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    Re: Life after skin cancer

    I feel the same way. I was recently diagnosed with bcc. I had an ulcerated bcc on my face. It has healed...for the moment....but will have an operation end of Nov, beg. of Dec. I also have a "growth" in my ear canal and have an appt with the ENT Nov 30th. I have a ton of moles, freckles, skin tags, you name it all over my body. I get a pimple and I panic. Bonnie, I cannot see how you even function. Right now I am running on adreneline. I have an extremely high pressure job and that adds to the pressure I feel each day. I have not yet had my first surgery, and yet I am thinking ahead to "what ifs". I made a long over due appt with my gyn as I had not gone in 2 yrs. I have an appt in Jan with a derm. to check my whole body. I am so afraid of what the ENT, gyn, derm may find. Let alone what will happen with the surg for the bcc. Everyone hears "skin cancer" and tell me, it's ok, that's the "good" kind of cancer. Excuse me, but cancer is cancer is cancer!! You take it!!

    LOL, anyway, I feel the same way. The main thing, is I am going to treat this aggressively. No more sunbathing. No more working in the yard without a hat and complete coverings. Sunscreen has become my new favorite body lotion and I am going out this weekend to buy a few more hats. I live in Florida so these will be my new fashion statement.

    Keep checking in here and getting the support of the others. I know this has helped me enormously to deal with this. Its nice to get the advise and support of others who are going through much the same thing you are. Some have it harder than others but all seem to be willing to throw out a hand to hold....a word of support. That's better than all the drugs out there!! Best of luck and all my prayers go out to you all.

     
    Old 11-15-2004, 01:32 AM   #5
    Belle2003
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    Re: Life after skin cancer

    It is very easy to become paranoid about future cancers after having skin cancer. I have had my car windows tinted on the driver and passenger side which is illegal in my state. I even have a stick on sun shade on my side window too. Both of my BCC were on that side of my face and the MOHS doctor said that most people get their sun exposure from driving in the car. My family is embarrassed when I wear my hat, and feel that I am paranoid with the tinted windows,etc, but I feel that I must do everything I can because my doctor said that I have a high chance of having more BCC. I had two BCC in one year.

    For me after a couple of months since the second MOHS the paranoia slowly diminished until you spot something new on your body. Then you start to worry again. Then I found out my optometrist, who is younger than me, has had two melanomas and many BCC. None of them have been on the face, but on her torso. For everything that she has been through she is totally upbeat and doesn't seem paranoid at all. She said everytime she visits the dermatologist they take off many suspicious spots. She is loaded with freckles and she has had as many as 20 biopsies in one visit.

    I read on the internet that a study thinks that Omega 3 helps the body protect itself against skin cancer. I am now taking fish oil capsules and ground flaxseed daily. These also are good for perimenopause symptoms so if it doesn't help with skin cancer prevention then it will help with the hormonal stuff. haha

    I hope that the new fashion trend in 2005 is wearing hats and carrying umbrellas. Then we will be the trend setters of the new year!

    Please let me know if you hear of any new studies about skin cancer prevention. Thanks!

     
    Old 11-15-2004, 04:22 AM   #6
    BonBe
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    Re: Life after skin cancer

    (my second try at posting)

    I am just going to pretend to be a mildly eccentric woman of mystery this coming summer. Since we camp for almost 3 weeks quite north of where I live, and that is our MAIN and only relief from life down here and all the responsibilities we all have in our lives. Due to the threat of West Nile as well, we have a 'sitting in screened tent thing. We have sleeping tent, dining tent, and now this sitting in tent. (no sun) but if I need to take a stroll, I must cover up (even heading to the johns) Fishing? Canoeing? Swimming? all must be covered up.

    A good friend gave me a shirt which is manufactured by a company who has this excellent line of clothing just for this purpose. Even looks feminine. it is not what I would call camping gear (though you can buy that stuff but too costly) but I will wear long skirts (flowing kind and who cares a fig what I look like (aging hippy more like it) expense things like UV UB protectant sun glasses, wide brimmed hat, even I may get one of those sarong things, which funnily enuff are made by this excellent company. Our vehicles all have MILD tinting, but not enuff I suppose to help on long drives, and yes, my knees always get sunburned whilst being a passenger and my right arm..... but this newer truck has more tint in it me thinks.

    I need to get a referal for a dermatologist as I also have lots of freckles, skin tags, and moles now...and 'weird beauty Hahahha marks' but I cannot be the 'boss' of what is what now can I. Since having MM I am afraid also of the BCC stuff and have plenty of scaley sections, which I thought would be due to say wearing glasses (reading) and the nose piece may not be quite right, as I have a scaly thing on the inside left side of my nose where the glasses sit. that kind of thing, does indeed make me paranoide.

    No new skin cancer preventions that I know of. I was told.... stay out of the sun totally, and only certain trees are suitable for sitting under (yes the Canadian Cancer society have a list of ahem preferred trees...) and those are not to be depended upon either but better than say a pine tree or a palm tree haha.

    So stay out of the sun, never go outside on any day (cept rainy) without legs covered, arms, covered, wide brimmed hat, sun screen on face backs of hands, and if you wear sandels on the parts not covered. in otherwords I call my self SUN SHUNNER BONNIE

    SIGH but it is better than dying!

    Bonnie

     
    Old 11-15-2004, 05:34 PM   #7
    TampaSal51
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    Re: Life after skin cancer

    Bonnie!! You are in luck!! The Red Hat Society LOVES hats!! The more the better!! Get yourself some red and purple hats and flaunt them!!

     
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