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Post Moh's Procedure
Have you found a bump, sore or spot on your skin that is concerning you? Basal Cell Carcinoma is considered the "safe" skin cancer by many people. It's not like other skin cancers that metastasize. It can metastasize, it's just the least likely to do so.
I'm not a skin doctor, or a doctor in any sense of the word, but I have had Basal Cell Carcinoma, twice. I've become very familiar with this cancer and the why's, how's and what's about it. Let me share what I have learned with you.
Types Of Skin Cancer
There are three types of skin cancer.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma - Least harmful. Rarely metastasizes.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma - Can, and will, metastasize. See doctor immediately.
- Melanoma - Most dangerous. Metastasizes quickly. See doctor NOW!
They appear different from person to person. The one identifying common factor is the edge of the lesion will be out of round. Moles and freckles are round. Cancer is not. Here you will find a photo gallery of cancer lesions. PHOTO'S
Do You Know Skin Cancer?
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Which skin cancer metastasizes quickly?
- Squamous cell
- Basal cell
- You can be proactive about skin cancer by checking your skin on a regular basis?
- That's absolutely right!
- I don't think so.
- Skin cancer is treatable if caught in the early stages?
- Yes it can!
- No it can't!
- Squamous cell
- That's absolutely right!
- Yes it can!
A Tiny Spot On My Nose, Then A Spot By My Eye
The cancer appeared almost exactly the same on both of the occasions I discovered the Basal Cell Carcinoma, albeit ten years apart.
The first one was on the right side of my nose, and the second one was at the corner of my right eye.
A non-conspicuous dot appeared. It was about the size of a pencil tip. It gradually became a little larger, over a four month period, to just smaller than the pencils eraser. On both occasions I thought nothing of it, at first.
The distinguishing characteristic between a simple blemish on your skin (face) and a cancer is that a blemish will eventually heal itself and go away, cancer does not.
In the photo's you can see the phases that my cancer went through. It would be like an open sore, a light red, not bloody, but red with a ring around it. Then it would become crusty as if it was drying up, getting ready to go away. Next, it would appear to be gone, but the ring was still there. The ring never went away. It would start its cycle again with the red center, to flaky to normal with a ring. Over and over it did this cycle.
After three months of this cycling I thought I should show my doctor. I made an appointment, went in, and a small sample of skin was removed from the area and sent to the lab.
Both times the results were returned within three days; It was positive for Basal Cell Carcinoma.
You'll make an appointment to have the Moh's procedure.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Removal Process - Moh's Procedure
To remove the Basal Cell Carcinoma your doctor will more than likely perform the Moh's procedure AKA Moh's Surgery. Random fact: My father was one of the first people to have the Moh's procedure done back in the late 1930's.
The Moh's procedure (Named after the doctor that started it Dr. Moh;s) is a process where layers of skin are progressively removed.
You'll arrive at the office first thing in the morning. Nobody knows how many layers will need to be removed, so starting at the beginning of the day provides enough time to get through all the possible layers.
There will probably be several other people there for the same procedure but maybe different parts of their body (usually Basal Cell Carcinoma is on the face or hands).
- Your doctor will sterilize the area where the lesion is located.
- Give you a local anesthetic. This, for me, was the most painful part of the entire procedure.
- A layer of skin will removed the size of the lesion and sent to the lab (in house) to be examined under a microscope immediately.
- Your lesion location will be temporarily covered and you'll be told to sit in the waiting room to wait for the lab results.
- The results are returned usually within one hour and given to your doctor.
- If there are cancerous cells found, you will be called back into the exam room and the doctor will administer more anesthetic to the area to remove another layer.
- He'll send it to the lab to be immediately processed again.
This process of removing a layer and sending to the lab goes on over and over until the lab returns a "No cancer cells found". At that point the doctor closes the incision and your done.
What Else You Can Expect
You can expect 10 - 15 minutes in the chair. The nurse will lay the chair back into a lying position usually. Then the doctor will administer the anesthetic, wait 5 minutes for it to take full affect, and then he'll remove a layer which takes maybe 5 minutes, if that.
The nurse, or assistant, will put a temporary bandage on the area so you can go into the waiting room and wait for the results. Some people bring a bag lunch to eat while they wait. I went out to get lunch at a nearby deli. You just need to be back in one hour for the next layer to be removed or finished up.
Finishing up involves just stitching the spot closed where the lesion was and putting some dressing on to protect the area from germs. Then you go home. I brought someone with me for entertainment purposes and because both times the lesion was close to my eyes, one right next to it and the other right between them, I felt someone else should drive just because I wouldn't see through the bandaging well.
When the anesthetic wore off I felt zero pain. I don't know why since the face seems like a highly sensitive place, but there was no pain for me. Like I said, the worse part was he initial shot to numb the area.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Joanna