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Basal Cell Carcinoma - Newly Diagnosed

InnocentCat
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2005

I am new to this site. Recently I was diagosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma (bcc) on my nose. On Oct. 17th I am scheduled for my initial consult with a MOHS surgeon. I know how MOHS surgery works from research that I have done on my own as well as material that the doctor mailed me. This will be covered by my insurance...at least I should say to an extent. I guess my question is how much does the surgery cost on average ? I know that until the procedure is actually done the doctor won't know how many times that they will have to take tissue and this will effect cost. I am definately having the procudure done....I was just curious on how much I might expect the procedure to cost. Then of course I know that it will be up to my insurance to decide what part they will pay.

Another question....how do you define a 'cancer survivor' ?

Thanks in advance for your support

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1564
Joined: May 2006

Hello,

You may want to contact the American Cancer Society's National Cancer Information Center. Cancer Information Specialists are available 24 hours a day and can assist you with resources. They can be reached at 1-800-227-2345 or by clicking on the "Contact ACS" link at the top of the page.

For the purposes of the CSN we consider a person a cancer survivor from the day they are diagnosed. Although many people consider it a personal term.

Take care and be well,

Dana
CSN Dana

epgnyc
Posts: 138
Joined: Apr 2003

I myself was just diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in two difference places (back of my upper arm and front shoulder). My doctor is the head of the Melanoma Clinic at a major NYC hospital, who has an excellent reputation and specializes in all skin cancers and Mohs surgery. Because he's not in my network yesterday I called and found out how much my doctor charges and how much my insurance carrier will pay -- exactly the questions you are asking. Now mind you, I live in New York City (Manhattan) where doctors charge very high rates. My doctor charges $1,250 for the first shaving; each one after that costs $600. And then there's a separate charge for closing the wound, depending on what needs to be done. Meanwhile, my insurance carrier will only pay $500 for the first shaving and $300 for each additional one. All the rest will come out of my pocket. Ouch!

I too have a question out there for people who've had basal cell skin cancer. Is it common to have Mohs surgery for cancers not on the face? Everyone I've spoken to or read about here on-line all had Mohs for facial cancers. I'm just curious why it's necessary for a non-facial cancer where the cosmetic outcome is much less important.

Grass
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2009

Hey, im 19 years old and live in New Zealand.
I have recently had a Basal Skin growth removed from my face.
I throughly checked out this website and realized that I must be the youngest to be diagnosed!!! How is this fare!! Lucky my mum is a nurse and was able to see the warning signs yet all of the 10 or so specialists I went to didnt agree that I could posably have contracted the dissease at my age. I do so much in October fundraising for the breast cancer foundations and as I said it just doesnt seam fare. Am I the youngest diagnosed would you know???? Cheers

InnocentCat
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2005

Opps....that was a typo...my appointment was actually Oct 12th. I saw my Mohs surgeon today...he explained the surgery to me. Then he said that after he does what he needs to he will send me directly to another nearby surgeon for reconstruction...and for that they will have to put me under. Oddly enough of all that is going on that seems to be what is concerning me most. I have never been under anesthesia before...and it seems abit frightening. Has anyone experienced these feelings? Also my Mohs surgeon said that they might use a skin flap...and that will make me look alittle funny for awhile. Can you believe it ?....I have skin cancer and I am more worried about being put under and how I will look ?!!! Any suggestions or advise. or referrals to any educational materials would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

carolinafans
Posts: 8
Joined: Dec 2004

I just had MOHS in July 2005. I was fortunate that he only took one scraping. It was kind of comical in the waiting room in that there was about 5 of us he was working on at the same time.When I came in, a few were already waiting for results with the gauze patch on while a few others were after me. If you saw someone come out at the reception desk you congratulated them on finishing! Incidentally, 3 were on the nose and one on the forehead. I was the youngest by at least 15 years, I am in my late 30's.Mine was located between my nose and lip which he said he could not stitch because it would pull up my lip. I kept it clean and dressed until it healed (I think it was about 2 weeks) but at first it seemed like I would have this hole in my face forever. It was almost exactly the size and depth of a contact lens. I used a curad patch after all scabbing was gone and that filled in most of the hole. I should now rub vaseline on it at night for about 10 minutes, haven't started that yet but I intend to soon.

My surgeon charged $850 but as a provider, he did not receive quite that amount. I live in the south so hopefully that will give you some idea.

Best wishes and prayers to you- it should all go well.

About a cancer survivor- I don't know if there is an official definition but to me it is anyone who had cancer or is currently fighting it. My husband had kidney cancer almost a year ago and all is well. After our experience with his cancer, I did not feel threatened by basal cell but just hope that it is the only cancer I have to face. I wondered that myself when he was diagnosed, would he have to wait a year/five years to be called a cancer survivor? I don't know but to me he is, and so is everyone else who has faced it or is fighting it.

RobertFW
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2005

I had MOHS Sept 21 on my nose, resulting in a hole maybe they size of a marble on the left nostril.

I went in the next day to a reconstruction surgeon and he did phase 1 of a forehead flap.

Phase II was Oct 17. Phase III was Nov 9.

I got my final stitches out this week.

It is amazing how I look - I am very pleased.

A few things I will have to get used to :
- the forehead skin which was used to reconstruct the nostril has no feeling in it, wondering if it ever will or I just must get used to it
- my forehead is rather tight (basically I am wrinkle free)

I also have BCC on my cheek. Will have laser removal on that Dec 13.

InnocentCat
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2005

I am resting here at home recovering from my surgery. Mohs surgery was a week ago Monday...followed by the 1st of my reconstruction surgery they next day. I am due to have the 2nd of the reconstruction in 2 weeks. The real bummer is since I wear glasses due to the skin flap I can't wear my glasses. Therefore, I can't drive, watch tv, etc. Although I have tried taping the glasses to my head. Well I will say that it works, but it does look rather odd !

Robert, how long were you off work due to the surgery ? Looks like I will be out about 6 weeks altogether.

NICKYNINES
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2011

innocent cat,
can u tell me how things worked out?..i heard the forehead flap is not for the faint of heart...i may need one....are u happy with the outome?

NICKYNINES
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2011

robert,
are you still happy with your final results?

luluNtx
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2009

i was diagnosed w/ basal cell carc. ( 2 places on my face)3 months ago...unfortunately, i cannot afford to get them removed at this time... not sure what im gonna do about it.... I also have 5 precancerous spots on my arms..geeezzzee.. I am only 33, didnt think this would happen to me at this age.. Just wondering how everything came out w/ ur removal... and scars? Was it painless? Reading all this stuff is kinda scary... Also, Im wondering how long is too long to wait to get these removed.?

ladydi1's picture
ladydi1
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi, I have been battling breast cancer for the last year and a half. Now that my surgeries, chemo and rads are done I went to have a mole checked, the mole was okay; but a spot on my forehead between my eyes was not. The path report came back basal cell carcinoma. I already have a deep hole the size of a nickle from the biopsy...looks like someone shot me between the eyes. They have put in a referral for me to have Mohs surgery but said there is a wait but not to worry as basal cells are slow growing cancers. I just want this out of me as soon as possible. Can anyone tell me what to expect?
Thanks,
Ladydi1

Sunny10's picture
Sunny10
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi, I had a basal and squamous cell carcinoma on the skin about my lip on the right. Just had Moh's surgery on 10-7-09. The lesion was about the size of a pencil eraser. The doctor did three stages of removal before the margins were clear. (meaning no more cancer). They took a piece of skin from the above my lip that was about an 1" x 1 1/2" inches, much larger than I was expecting. The doctor did what I believe he called a flap rotation. They made two incision about an inch long a piece and stitched everything back together so it would not pull the center of my lip to the side. It does not look pretty right now, I have about 12 stitches that can be seen and more inside the incision but it looks like it will heal well. I will keep you posted on my recovery. Good Luck!

ladydi1's picture
ladydi1
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2008

Thanks Sunny!! I am still playing telephone tag with the Mohs Surgery Dept. trying to get this set up. Did you have to wait long for the surgery after your path report came back? Please let me know how you are doing and I will do the same after surgery.
Many thanks!
Ladydi1

gailaj
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2008

Hello Ladydi and Sunny -
I was also just diagnosed with basal cell, under my left eye. I am scheduled for Moh's surgery this Friday (10-16-09). Don't know what to expect either; my previous experience with cancer was melanoma in 2003 (had a wide local excision on my right neck/shoulder, but not Moh's) and thyroid cancer in 2008 (thyroidectomy, but thankfully, no radiation or other followup except synthroid and yearly ultrasounds). Although this is the least "serious" cancer diagnosis I've had, I have to say I'm pretty freaked out about it, because it's in a bad place on my face.....but I'll let you know how it goes, and send you positive vibes as well! Thanks for sharing your story...helps to know of others going through it too!!
-Gail

luluNtx
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2009

I have now found another spot by my lip... I'm wondering.. when they do the Mohs, are you awake?or do they fully sedate you? Being awake kinda makes me nervous.Also, Is this something that plastic surgeons do? Or a different type of doctor??
thanks

gailaj
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2008

I was awake for the Mohs, it was done by a dermatologist who specializes in Mohs. He received certification from the American College of Mohs Surgery (or something like that). He did offer me the option to go to a plastic surgeon for the stitches, but it seemed pretty simple (just a curved line under my eye, no graft or flap needed), so I just had him do it, since he said he is also trained in plastic surgery.

Yes, it was a little freaky being awake, but the area was numbed and I hardly felt anything. (I posted a more detailed account of the surgery in an earlier post, if you're interested). It's been about three weeks since the surgery; the stitches were taken out about ten days ago and I still have a "steri-strip" over it, which is about to finally come off...but doesn't look like the scar will be too bad. So the whole experience wasn't too bad.

rwm0502
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2009

Thyroid cancer in 2004, thyroid and all cancer removed. No problems since. Several small basal cells removed in last five years. Most recent on 10/01/09 on my nose. Small skin graft required on this one and first time for that. Biopsy shows it all removed. Guess I'm doomed to the occational removal the rest of my life.

It's all with a doctor who is out of my network. Not much covered by the insurance. Nose was $1350.00, and only $425.00 re-imbused. Ouch! That hurt more than the sugery!

gailaj
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2008

Thanks for the reply. So I guess I'd better not miss those annual checkups with the derm!

Sorry to hear the insurance hurt your wallet so much, that really stinks when you have to consider whether or not to see an expert if they're out of network. I was VERY LUCKY to find that the specialist recommended to me was actually on my insurance.

Be well!

Sunny10's picture
Sunny10
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi, I had my biopsy on 8-28-09 and couldn't get an appointment for the surgery until 10-7 so it was several weeks before my surgery. It did get larger during this time so I don't think that help the amount of skin that had to be removed. My cancer was basal and squamous cell cancer so that may have made it more aggressive than if it was just basal. I go to get my stitches removed tomorrow. No one has mentioned any other treatment yet so I will let you know what happens tomorrow. Good Luck everyone!

luluNtx
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2009

Sunny10-I just read your post, and noticed that it has been about 3 weeks since your surgery. I have now 3 places on my face, which I'm more concerned about the one right above my lip... I'm wondering how long your recovoery period has taken? I guess more concerned with is the area healed up enough where you are not haveing to be self conscious in public..???
Thanks for all your feedback.

mwetter1954
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2009

I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on Oct. 28, 2009. I went to the dermatologist for my roseacea and asked her to look at my "third eye" on my forhead, which had changed somewhat since the last time I saw her. The place was a mole and became raised, like a pimple was under it. She biopsied it and called back with the news. I have an appointment with the MOHS surgeon, who is my former dermatologist and is just doing surgery now. My surgery is set for Dec. 1, with my consult on Nov. 24. I am already a 9 year cancer survivor (endometrial stromal sarcoma) and, still, this news felt like being punched in the stomache.

gailaj
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2008

I was also hit hard emotionally by this latest diagnosis, and I couldn't figure out why. I had had a melanoma in 2003 which required a wide local excision (no recurrence), and thyroid cancer in 2008, which required a full thyroidectomy....and yet I still was thrown by this most recent diagnosis of basal cell in October. Was it because I wasn't really aware of it? (Let it go a long time, since it didn't look like melanoma, which I knew from my previous experience...) Or maybe it was just the basic thought, I know it is the most mild, but can't a biopsy of mine come back clear just once?

On a brighter note, now that I have recovered with an extremely unnoticeable scar under my eye (helps that I wear glasses), all I can tell you is that for me, the anticipation was much worse than the procedure. The worst part was having a bandaid and then bandage on my face for several weeks, but once the stitches were out, it was smooth sailing. I wish you a similarly positive experience!

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