Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A Basal Cell Skin Cancer

24th August 2010
Yesterday I had a skin cancer removed. It was a basal cell epthelioma. It started as a small spot which I first noticed in March/April and which was not resolving.
I had a consultation in June with the specialist, Dr Labrousse, who said that it needed to be removed but it was a type of cancer that didn’t metastasize, and wasn’t dangerous, so I decided to have a holiday and redo the kitchen in the flat in Richmond before having the minor operation. During five months it had tripled in diameter.

The operation was done under local anaesthetic and after the injections I felt nothing. Since it was on the bridge of my nose I had my eyes closed throughout. Although I am not nervous in these situations, and I have had more needles stuck in me during chemotherapy twenty years ago* than a typical pin cushion, I am unable to prevent a mild shock reaction and I was a bit wobbly for about an hour afterwards, so Christiane had to drive us home from Brive. We stopped in Vayrac to see Anne’s expo and I felt ill at ease with people because of the large dressing on my nose, but nobody looked at me strangely so it was all in my head. The stitches are due to be taken out in nine days and until then I am supposed to wear the dressing because otherwise my glasses sit right on the stitches.

Dr Labrousse said that I had a very fair skin and I must be careful to avoid the sun. He is the second doctor to tell me this in the last few weeks. Fortunately throughout my life I have always avoided the sun because I burn very quickly, but my face is more difficult to protect.  Here, in the summer, just walking about for twenty minutes on a sunny day is enough to make me go pink and when I’m gardening I usually wear long sleeves and my Australian hat!

I have a friend, with Scottish ancestry, who, when he was younger, worked in Africa and the Far East for many years. Now, in his sixties, he has had several cancers of this type on his arms, legs and face. But it isn’t only the English, Scottish and Irish who have this problem because my French neighbour has also had an epthelioma as well! For all fair skinned Europeans the sun is potentially dangerous!

12th September 2010
One very small advantage of this minor op is that pulling the skin together after the cancer has been excised has removed at least one wrinkle!
When the stitches come out I will post another photo!

And here it is! The skin is still quite reddish locally but that will fade.

* I first mentioned this in May, click here to read more.


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