Patient Comments: Skin Cancer - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with skin cancer.

Comment from: Riley, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 14

I'm not actually a skin cancer patient, but I'm writing this about my girlfriend, because her case is so strange that I thought it would be interesting to tell people about it. She has basal cell carcinoma on her eyebrow and eyelid that started years ago from an eyebrow wound that must have healed wrong. For years we thought that the shiny hairless lump was just scar tissue, but it caused her pain and bled a lot. Recently she went in for surgery, where a hard cyst-like substance was removed from her eyebrow. Then the skin tests came back positive for cancer. So she got another surgery and they got out as much as they could, but there is still a lot left that they were unable to remove. She has been to several specialists and meetings but no one is sure yet how to proceed because radiation therapy could cause problems with her eye. If one of us had seen pictures of basal cell carcinoma years ago, we would have recognized it and some of this might have been prevented.

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Comment from: Mimi, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 09

I was diagnosed with squamous cell skin cancer yesterday. Five weeks ago, I spent a week in Florida. Only two of those days were warm enough to wear short sleeves. While I was there, I noticed a spot on my arm that got red and irritated looking. After I got home, I called the dermatologist and saw him three weeks later. By then the area got bigger and part of the top formed a scab, which fell off and created a hole that bled. The dermatologist called me yesterday and said it was a small squamous cell skin cancer, and since it was removed, this is probably the only treatment. I have another appointment in two and a half months for a follow-up. I had a melanoma on my thigh six years ago. I had a wide excision and follow-up with blood work and chest X-rays for five years. I am very fair (100% Irish) and got a lot of sunburns when I was a kid. I would just like to encourage people to not ignore anything on their skin because the sooner it is removed, the better the outcome. And I am still shocked at how quickly this came on and that it is cancer. It is scary to hear the word cancer in your diagnosis, and it does help to talk to other people who have gone through the same thing. I'm happy to report that I'm doing well and am encouraged that this new skin cancer was caught early.

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Comment from: vincent, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 29

I am a 53 year old woman. Being blonde and blue-eyed, I have very light skin. In my younger years, I played and worked in the sun a lot. I would describe my use of sunscreen as sporadic. My mother had skin cancers throughout her life; she had several incidents of squamous cell carcinoma. At least one time, she had a melanoma (on her nose). Recently, I tripped on some metal stairs and injured both of my shins. As they healed, they both produced hard and irregular scar tissue. The one on my left leg was painful to the touch, red, and had a raised "bump." So, I made an appointment with my doctor. After examining the spot on the left shin, he said, “This looks like a skin cancer and will probably have to be removed surgically." He referred me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist took biopsies of both spots and, sure enough, the lab report showed a squamous cell carcinoma on the left shin and a pre-cancer. (I can't remember the name). I just made appointments for the Mohs procedure on the left and a scrape and burn on the right.

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Comment from: 1artist, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 05

I had squamous cell carcinoma on my left ear. Interestingly, it is the side of my face exposed to the sun while driving. I live in Southern California spent extended time in the sun while sailing, biking, hiking during my life. I am 63 years old. It started out, in October, as a small, rough patch of skin on my upper ear. I would scratch off the "scale" and went weeks without noticing anything. Every time it would reappear, only a little worse. In January I noticed a bump which should have inspired me to see my dermatologist considering the fact that I had previously had several basal cel carcinomas removed over the previous 10 years. My first was when I was around 52. It was on my right forearm. Soon the tumor began growing rapidly and I knew I was in trouble. After contacting my dermatologist I scheduled surgery to have it removed. I had waited too long. About one third of the middle of my ear had to be removed including the cartilage. This resulted in having a plastic surgeon reconstruct the ear. The ear is smaller than the other and slightly deformed. Thankfully it did not spread to other parts of my body. I am convinced that early detection and seeking early intervention is the key to staying healthy.

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Comment from: jb93, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 12

I wish we could get young people to realize how dangerous all the sunbathing is, whether indoor or outdoor. I wish I had known the statistic for fair-skinned people when I was younger and lying in a tanning bed. I try to talk to people about the dangers, but much like I was, they are more interested in their appearance for now than what is a possibility for their future.

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Skin Cancer - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with skin cancer.
Skin Cancer - Diagnosis Question: How was your skin cancer diagnosed?
Skin Cancer - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment have been effective for your skin cancer?
Skin Cancer - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your skin cancer?

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