Ask about skin cancer

Wilma is a skin cancer specialist nurse, here to answer your questions about different types of skin cancer. She will try to respond within 2 working days.

Skin Cancer - MOHS Treatment

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous

Good morning Wilma

I have had two skin cancers removed one from my face and one from my shoulder a couple of years ago with no problems at all.  However, I had a mark come on my nose last March and it just kept bleeding.  I went to my doctors several times and was told that it was some form of excema and I eventually demanded I go to the hospital for tests as with my history I was suspicious.

I have two very different skin cancers - one has been described as a BCC which I am now treating with a very strong cream and it is burning it very much so... the course of the cream is 10 weeks I am not sure what it is going to look like by the time it is finished as after 2 weeks it is very roar. 

The other one my face is a totally different one and I have been told that I will need MOHS surgery on it as it has a root system and they need to destroy it.  I have also been told that the consultant will need to apply for me to have this treatment and I should get the results today hopefully.  I dont know what will happen if I am refused - I suspect I will have to pay privately.

I am very concerned as the process of MOHS surgery and have been told that they will biopsy it and I will have to wait 2 hours and they do the treatment until it is all gone.  Hopefully it will be over sooner rather than later and with little scarring.   What do they mean by a flap process?   it sounds horrendous and scarey if I am honest with you.  Do you have a fact sheet that I could read about this?  The hospital appointment was so matter of fact and I was in shock when I was told and I didnt know what questions to ask and I am just left in the lurch really - not sure about anything or what to expect. 

I am sorry to have to ask you but I dont feel I can talk to anyone about this because I dont want them to think that I am being silly.  It is a scarey thing and as the advert on TV shows it is a time when you feel totally isolated and alone.

Many thanks for your assistance in this matter.

Regards

Christine 

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous

Good morning

I have just been told that I will have to have mohs surgery on my face following another recurrent skin cancer.   I have been told that they will probably need to do a skin graft/flap surgery.  It sounds horrendous and I am scared of what it will look like.  I am a front of house person in my job and am scared how it is going to look.  

Is it painful and how long does the procedure take.

If you could offer any reassurance I would be most grateful.

Christine

Jess - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Christine,

I've moved your two questions here together.

Best wishes

Jess

Wilma - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Christine, good afternoon and thank you for getting in touch.   It is a shame to hear that you have come away from your consultation frightened and unsure of what lies ahead.  Firstly let me reassure that the 'cream' you are using for your skin is working well.  Redness, crusting and discomfort is a common side effect.  Normally when there are no side effects it tells us that the treatment is no working, this can be very frustrating for the patient who has applied it faithfully for weeks.

With regards to MOHS microscopic surgery if your consultation feels this is the best method to completely remove the BCC then you will not be refused.  There is however a demand for this treatment and with few surgeons that specialise in this procedure, then there does tend to be a long waiting list.  This may mean waiting months for your surgery.  There will be not great risk to you as a BCC is a very slow growing type of skin cancer.  It is understandable to be afraid especially if you are not sure what to expect.  However, it will be the MOHS surgeon who will decide what type of 'repair' you will require which can be a skin graft or flap repair.

A flap repair will involve moving/stretching skin over the surgery site.   It is an excellent way to carry out the repair and it gives very good cosmetic results.  Which of course is one of the aims of MOHS as well as removing abnormal cells on the same day.  The best advice is to write down your questions for the surgeon and he will be best placed to tell what you can expect.

There  will be healing and bruising so this should be factored into any recovery time you may wish to take, especially if you work on a front desk or public.  You may feel somewhat self conscious with any dressing or bruising. 

Bear in mind that once you undergo this procedure you can be sure the BCC has been removed and there will be no increased anxiety waiting for results.

I hope this information has been useful, please do get back in touch if you have any more questions.

Best wishes

Wilma 

 

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous

Hi Wilma

Thank you so much for that information, I feel much better now I have received your response.

Regards

Christine 

Jess - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Christine,

I'm glad to hear you found Wilma's response helpful. You might like to go to our Skin cancer group and speak to others who have had BCC or a similar procedure. They will be able to give you further personal advice and talk about their own experiences.

Just go there and click on 'start a discussion'

Best wishes

Jess

Macmillan Community Team