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Treatments for Basal Cell Carcinoma

tnstudent's picture
tnstudent
Posts: 45
Joined: Aug 2009

My mother was recently diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma on 10-06-09. I know nothing about this cancer type. Can you tell me what to expect? What are the treatments for this type of cancer? Also, does this cancer spread?

beacon
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2009

hi

where is her basal cell carcinoma situated?
and do you know what type of basal cell she has?

i was diagnosed with a "superficial" basal cell carcinoma when i was 32.actually, i diagnosed it myself after noticing that this patch of skin looked constantly abrased and slightly silvery,with a slightly raised edge, although it was flat. most people,wouldn't have even noticed there was something wrong, but i knew it wasn't normal.the doctor told me off for wasting an appointment, for a patch of dry flaky skin, and sent me home , so it wasn't until i went overseas for a holiday that i got it checked out and biopsied and it was indeed a malignant basal cell.
it was approx 1cm in diametre.
some peoples basal cell carcinomas can look quite different than mine.some can look like brown or pearly raised lumps,or eczema like patches , etc, as there are quite a few different types.

basically, rarely,if the basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is left neglected to grow for a long time,in a susecptible place, such as on the ear, eye ,nose etc,where there is little fat and tissue underlying the skin, then it is possible for it to metastise, and cause death, but it is very rare! most people experience would range from an experience like mine,which wasn't much of a deal at all, to an experience that would involve mohs surgery on the face or a flap surgery in difficult areas, which you can also google for images to give your self an idea of what that entails and how it heals.you could also search on here for peoples past stories.
i wouldn't worry...you can google basal cell carcinoma and read a little more about it, so you understand what it is further, but i'm sure she will be fine.

i was lucky, in that my type of BCC could be treated with photo dynamic therapy, and it took two treatments and it was completely gone! not a single mark left to show for it either, just normal healthy skin left after the scabbing from the light therapy healed over, and that was mostly due to a reaction to the hospital grade plaster, believe it or not!
they offered me cuterage and cautery , or excision, but the scars left would have been huge and in a prominent position on my shoulder, which was unacceptable for me as a young woman, and i couldn't use the chemotherapy cream, imiquiamod, as i was breastfeeding, so they allowed me to have the photodynamic therapy instead. but i had to ask for it, no one offered or informed me that it was a possiblilty...i did my own research on the net, as i was very upset at the thought of having the options they had offered, especially since i carry my baby in a sling, and the position of the wound from the surgery would be right where the sling would sit on my shoulders, which would distort the scar etc, as it was healing ,and they said i wouldn't be able to use the sling at all for a few months...so the NHS approved the photodynamic therapy ,thank god!

i too ,was a bit scared at first when it was confirmed as "cancer" as i wasn't sure exactly what that "meant" for me, but it was explained to me as being like a "local menace" in the neighbourhood that causes trouble, but doesn't venture far, it made me feel better.
mine was basically just an dry looking patch of skin that they simply got rid off...thats all.

if it is on her face, they have very good techniques to remove it, with minimal scarring. even the photos of some of the more radical flap treatment i have seen, have amazed me, how when it has all healed up, the scar is barely noticable!they might need to do that when it is on the nose for instance and there is not enough spare skin to sew up, once the cancer is removed, so they flip a flap of skin from the forehead down onto the nose, to replace it.

they also use mohs surgery, where they scrape it off layer by layer, lookig at it under the microscope each time, until they are sure there are no more cells left.this reduces the amount of tissue they have to remove in sensitive places.

my aunty has had numerous skin cancers removed from her body and face,basal cell and squamous cell and she still looks great , so i would tell your mum not to panic.she is in no danger, and if they do have to use a surgical technique to remove it ,if it is on her face, they are able to do all sorts of things these days to minimise the impact of scarring.

it is still important to get skin cancers properley checked out, rather than leave them ,even if you think it is only a basal cell carcinoma, as the skin cancer doctor told me that mine could also be a squamous cell carcinoma, by appearance, and you would not want to leave a squamous cell carcinoma sitting there unchecked, as they can metastase alot easier...

hope that helps to ease your worries a bit..i know i was kind of rambling, as i am very tired, but hopefully you can make some sense of that!

your mum will be fine....

good luck, and remember to be sun smart! :)

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