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BCC-Very Scared

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2009

Hello everyone,

Here is my mom's story. She had a lump on her eyebrow above her eye and the furthest back she can remember NOT having it is 5 years ago. She has definately had it for 2 years. A ear, nose, and throat doctor removed it assuming it was just a cyst. Turns out it was BCC. My mom and I go back monday to have her stitches removed and discuss options. He told my mom had he known that it was BCC he would have taken more of the surrounding tissues. He said her options on Monday will be to schedule an additional more invasive surgury (im assuming the Mohs) or to let it heal and wait and see if it reoccurs.

My two main concerns are this: I know the majority of BCC does not metastise but my mom has had this lump for several years. How long before something like that metastises? Also, about 7 years ago my mom had gastric bypass surgury. A couple of years after that she became sort of iron deficient. The doctor told her that anemia and iron deficiency is often time a result of the gastric bypass as the area that collects the iron from food is bypassed. To be sure she had annual colonoscopys to make sure she didnt have colon cancer, all negative each time. So now that this type of BCC has popped up should i assume that it has something to do with her iron deficiency and may have metastized? Anyone out there that has had BCC and was iron deficient that can advise?

Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2009

i have had basal cell carcinoma on my shoulders where they join the neck.
it was a superficial basal cell carcinoma.
i also have been iron deficient with very low ferritin too at times.

please do not worry!

it infact makes total sense that your mom would be iron deficient given she has gastric bypass surgery, as it limits severley the intake of food, and unless she is strictly eating a wholefood diet, with no empty calories (junk food) she probably doesn't get adequate nutrition from her food!

the chance of basal cell metastising, from what i understand, is only in rare cases where it has been neglected for years and years, and usually on places that don't have much underlying fat or muscle under it, like an ear or an eyelid etc, but even if she has had it for 5 years, that is not long, and i think those that have metastatic basal cell would have either been very unlucky or just left it there to fester for YEARS.
the chance this has happened to your mum is miniscule and she is being treated under a watchful eye at the moment.
probably worst case scenario is that she has to have a little more surgery ,with a little time for the scars to heal, and then life will go back to normal...

hope this helps!

here is something i found that talks about it: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/580610_3

Metastatic BCC (MBCC) is extremely uncommon, with fewer than 300 reported cases of MBCC in the literature and an estimated rate of metastasis ranging from 0.0028 percent to 0.5 percent.[2]

The formal diagnostic criteria for MBCC defined by Lattes and Kessler in 1951 include the following conditions: 1) the primary lesion must originate in the epidermis or follicular skin and not mucinous tissue, 2) spread must be to a distant site and not represent simple extension, 3) the primary and metastatic lesions must have a similar histologic appearance of BCC, and 4) no squamous cell features may be present.[3]

Risk factors associated with the rare occurrence of metastasis include tumor size of less than 2cm, multiple primary tumors in the region of the head and neck, significant tumor depth, fair skin, middle age, and male gender.[5] Risk of metastasis has been further shown to specifically correlate with the size of the primary tumor; tumors greater than 3cm conferring 2 percent risk, greater than 5cm conferring 25 percent risk, and greater than 10cm conferring 50 percent risk.[6] Immunocompromised patients and those with primary BCC of the head and neck (65-88% of all BCC) are also more likely to have metastatic disease

ladydi1's picture
Posts: 128
Joined: Jul 2008

On Oct. 2 I had a biopsy that revealed a basal cell carcinoma on my forehead between my eyes. It was a crater like, translucent spot that I had had for 8 years, so I understand your concern. I had my pre op on Dec. 5th and am now scheduled for Mohs surgery on 1/25/2010 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mohs is one of the most effective surgeries for Basal Cell Carcinomas there is, with a 99% cure rate. It is a long procedure, only because they remove a section, then you wait while the pathologist looks at it. If the margins aren't clear (if they didn't get it all on the first cut) they will then remove some more and again you wait while the pathologist checks it. This is repeated until they have all the tumor out (clear margins) some people need only one or two cuttings to achieve this. After there is bruising and swelling (4-8 weeks) and because your mom's is near her eye like mine, her eyes may swell shut temporaily, but the results are great after healing. Please tell her not to worry, I will keep her in my prayers. If she wants to talk to me or if you have more questions, my e-mail is : ladydi1@pacbell.net

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010
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