After an unfortunate brush with Mother Nature while camping, I went to visit my dermatologist and decided to have him also check two marks on my back. They are in a hard to reach spot that my sports bra chafes so I just figured they were chafing marks. Wrong.
He took one look at them as well as a third and decided biopsies were needed.
Turns out they are basal cell carcinomas. Superficial ones but still not good.
Basal cell carcinoma 101:
The most common form of cancer in the US starts in the top layer of the skin, skin that is regularly exposed to sunlight or UV radiation. It’s most common in people over 40.
Likely candidates to get basal cell skin cancer have:
- Light-colored or freckled skin
- Blue, green, or grey eyes
- Blond or red hair
- Close relatives who have or had skin cancer
- Many severe sunburns early in life
- Long-term daily sun exposure ir overexposure to other forms of radiation
Based on the above criteria, you can see why I am not entirely surprised by the diagnosis…
I have fair skin, tons of freckles, blond hair and I love the sun. Growing up in places like Saudi and the south of Spain I had my fair share of unfortunate sunburns and have never been the most diligent user of sunscreen.
Though I do check my skin very regularly, picture a chimp grooming another chimp, the lack of eyes in the back of my head make my back a harder place to examine and living alone doesn’t make it any easier.
So there you have it. 34-ish and my first up close encounter with cancer.
Doc recommended two treatment options that I will sum up as:
1. Cut & Sew. Cut them out and know I will have scars
2. Scratch & burn: scrape them and burn the areas
The latter has slightly less of a cure rate than the former but Dr.J thinks it’s the best option so as to not create a patchwork of scars (just yet) on my back. Plus on the positive side it may work and they may not come back.
I know I freaked him out when I asked “what if I don’t do anything”. The silence, the sharp intake of breath and the flat: “That is not an option” helped confirmed it.
Rest assured, it was my awkward way of asking him how fast they could spread.
Anyways, I’m going with Scratch & Burn. Apparently we’re going to do them over the course of several visits. First one is a week on Monday. Fun times ahead.
In the meantime I’m going to stretch and limber up because who else is going to change the dressings and apply neosporin on my back?