My Skin Cancer Journey with BCC and SCC

If you think it couldn’t happen to you, think again. This is my journey with BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma) and SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma), and I’m sharing it with others so they won’t make the same mistakes.

Two months ago, I booked in to see the dermatologist about a scaly patch on the back of my right hand. I hadn’t realised that the receptionist booked me in for a complete skin cancer checkup, and thank goodness she did! After looking at my hand, the doctor told me that I needed a biopsy and then she checked the rest of my body. A lesion on my shoulder was suspected to be a BCC, and the hand she thought was an SCC. However, the biggest shock was that she didn’t like a mole on my lower back and thought it was possibly a Melanoma.

The surgery on my back had 4 stitches. The surgery on my shoulder and my right hand each had 8 stitches and the left hand only 1 deep stitch. The results were an invasive SCC on my right hand, a BCC on my shoulder, and the back was a pre-cancerous mole. My left hand was a BCC.

I’ve always loved to have a tan, but now I’m paying a huge price for that vanity. If you want a tan, get a fake one because once you realise that something like a small scaly patch on your hand turns out to be Invasive Squamous Cell Carcinoma it is frightening. The scar cured up so well even with all those stitches that you could hardly see it, and I put that down to constantly using Lucas Paw Paw, which I have done on all my scars with great results. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t take enough margins so I had to have the wound re-opened again and a deeper incision made to get all the margins. This time the wound has not healed as nicely, and it is painful. The scar is ugly too.

I recently had the BCC removed from my shoulder, which shocked me as it was a tiny dot that the doctor noticed, not me. That one resulted in many stitches and had to be reopened because the doctor didn’t take enough margins again. Two weeks ago, I had two biopsies on my face and they are clear.

Now let me explain what it feels like to have needles in your face to numb it before a biopsy or surgery! For me, it was scary than any other part of my body. Two years ago, I had surgery on my forehead for a suspected Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and that wasn’t a fun surgery. These anaesthetics do sting but only for several seconds. The most painful one I have had was in the nose, which was pretty stressful.

The surgeries on the hand, back and shoulder took around 20 minutes, it is not painful, but the sensation of the tugging and then the stitching is weird. The punch and shave biopsies are quickly over with. Only the punch biopsy needed a stitch as the shave biopsies heal on their own. (Shave biopsy. A doctor uses a tool similar to a razor to remove a small section of the top layers of skin)

The next step for me is the chemotherapy cream; 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapeutic medication that comes in a cream. Sunspots and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in situ (Bowen’s disease) are treated with it. For 2–3, maybe twice a day. As the skin will be more susceptible to UV radiation when using the cream, I’ll have to completely stay out of the sun. I’m not looking forward to this because I’ve looked it up on Doctor Google and the face becomes very scabby and sore. I have heard the positive side; it also helps with wrinkles.

My doctor told me that I need three-monthly checkups and expect to develop many more skin cancers now. I truly regret not taking better care of myself in the sun.

I am fortunate that I have not had Melanoma, and I hope I never do. I took my risks in the sun, and now I am paying the price, and if I can get one person to listen to me, then I’ve done my job.

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