I want to share a personal story in hopes to inform, not to scare or seek sympathy from anyone.
Back in September of 2011 I noticed I had reoccurring blemish (or what I thought was a zit) on my right cheek that kept coming back. After about a month I realized it wasn’t going away. It began as a small pink patch (about the size of a pencil eraser) then progressed to the size of a dime. The patch had a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center. As the growth progressed in the next four months, tiny blood vessels developed on the surface, making the patch more red in color, rather than pink. There was never any noticeable discomfort other than the fact I constantly looked like I had a blemish on my face for FOUR MONTHS! Stupid I know…I should have gone to the dermatologist sooner!
Not only had I been sweeping the issue under the rug for 4 months, but I had personally witnessed my own mother making trips to the dermatologist, to have her “spots” removed. I fell victim to sun exposure & tanning beds back when I was in junior high and high school. I loved to tan! There was nothing like the warm rays on my body. It made me feel good, relaxed. In the short-term, it even made me look good. In college (2002-2006) I tanned mainly in tanning beds, for special events, and the same routine occurred for the next five years. In 2011 my love affaire ended, but it wasn’t a two-way street. I quit tanning altogether because I noticed sun spots on my face and chest. I made a vow to myself I would never tan in a tanning bed again. I purchased my first Spray Tan Machine in hopes to get the suntan look without the harsh UV exposure. It has been the best choice I’ve ever made. I truly believe I have “saved” my skin from any further damage and I pray no more ”spots” come up on my face or anywhere else for that matter.
On January 25th, 2012 I had my appointment to get my Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) spots, yes spots, removed. A week before my appointment, I had another spot show up on my forehead. It was small, like how the one on my cheek started off. The diagnosis process my physician recommended was using the Cryosurgery method, in which the tumor tissue is destroyed by freezing with liquid nitrogen, without the need for cutting or anesthesia. The procedure can be repeated at the same session to ensure total destruction of malignant cells. He had to freeze the one on my cheek twice, to ensure total destruction of the bad cells. The pain was bearable, slight stinging sensation. After the procedure you can expect the following: the growth blisters, becomes crusted/scabbed, and usually falls off within 1-2 weeks. Cryosurgery is (85-90%) effective for the most common growths and is the treatment of choice for patients with bleeding disorders or an intolerance to anesthesia.
Here are some other removal options you could choose from: here
(if you hover your mouse over the picture, it will explain the different stages)
Top five warning signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma: check them out here.
These are my results, over a 10 day span.
I strongly suggest making an appointment with your dermatologist if you think you have or clearly have any of these signs. I am scheduled to return for a follow-up in July to ensure all cells are clear of BCC. Should any spots reoccur, the physician might recommend a different type of treatment such as Mohs micrographic surgery, highly effective – 98% or better.
While BCCs and other skin cancers are almost always curable when detected and treated early, it is best to prevent them in the first place. So the next time you are enjoying a day in the sun, make these habits part of your daily care routine: bbc prevention guidelines
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. A spray tan is the healthiest and safest way to achieve your SUNLESS suntan!
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your doctor every year for a professional skin exam.