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I’ve been diagnosed with 2 basal cell carcinomas on either side of my nose. One was treated with cryotherapy last week and the other needs to be removed surgically followed by a skin/flap graft. I live and work in france and, whilst hospital care is great here, they don’t go in much for emotional support etc. I’m seeing a plastic surgeon next week to be given a date for surgery and to discuss the skin or flap graft that will follow. Because I work in the restaurant business and because of the fact that these bcc’s are on my nose I realize that from a visual/cosmetic point of view I will not be considered ‘presentable’ enough to work for a time after my treatment, but no-one seems to be able to tell me for how long. Can you please advise me ie will I have bandages/plesters on my nose and for how long? Will I have stitches? Basically can you give me any kind of idea of when I will look ‘not too bad’ in order to get back to work. I love my job and working keeps my mind off this cancer ..... so I’d really like to know?
Thank you in advance
Thanks for getting in touch and welcome to the online community. It’s understandable to want to be fully informed about any treatment you are having.
It’s difficult for us to give an idea of when you will look ‘not to bad’ after having surgery and skin/flap graft. This is because everyone’s rate of healing can be different due to the extent of the surgery and how well the graft or skin flap heals.
It’s not unusual for a dressing to be placed over the graft/flap site to prevent any trauma. This can sometimes remain in place for a week or sometimes longer. If you have stitches these would usually be removed between 5 -14 days.
Many people worry about visible scarring after surgery. Although each person’s healing is different any scars would be expected to fade. This can sometimes take from a few weeks up to a few months. However there may be a chance that the colour and texture of the skin may be slightly different than it was before This blog taken from the American Skin Cancer Foundation provides good information about how to promote healing and reduce the risks of scarring.
We’d encourage you to raise your concerns with your plastic surgeon at your appointment. They are best placed to help you understand what to expect as they are performing the surgery. They will also be able to guide you on when you are going to be able to return to work.
Sometimes being able to share experiences and get support from others in similar situations can be invaluable. Our skin cancer group on our online community offers this type of support.
Cancer Support France also offers support for English speaking people affected by cancer.
I hope this helps. Best wishes, Kelly (Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist).
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