Basal Cell Carcinoma reactions

FormerMember
FormerMember
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Hi all,

3 days ago was diagnosed with a BCC on my forehead. It completely caught me off guard because I naively didn't even consider that it could be anything cancerous (my doctor and the dermatologist he referred me to both said it was an unpigmented mole). I am booked in for a full body check up and Mohs surgery in the next couple of months. I also need to see an oncologist because I was told that it's a little unusual at my age (I've just turned 21) to rule out if anything else is going wrong, and have various existing auto immune and skin conditions (namely psoriasis and coeliac disease). 

I'm writing because I'm really struggling with telling people, and people's reactions to it (apart from my family and a couple of friends who have been great). I've had the "Thank god its not something more serious! That's great news!", "Oh I really need to get my moles checked too now", "It's not really cancer though" and "This is actually really useful for me because now I won't sunbathe as much". I don't know if its just that maybe the people around me aren't used to reacting to this kind of thing because we're all young, but am feeling pretty gutted. I know how much worse it could be and of course I'm over the moon that this growth wasn't any more serious, but feel really sad about it nevertheless, and of course worried because I haven't yet had the rest of my body looked at. 

While it's the best case scenario out of a series of bad scenarios, I'd obviously rather there be no scenario at all and find it really diminishing when people bat it away and trivialise it. Really hit a wall with it today when I went to see a tutor at university to explain I may have to miss some classes for further testing and treatment, and half way through he said 'oh I thought you meant melanoma- well at least you don't need chemo etc, if its just a BCC its no problem'. Was pretty gutted with this reaction. 

I have felt like many people in their reactions have immediately made my experience their experience, just because everyone has moles. Everyone has moles, but not everyone encounters difficulty with them.

I was wondering if anyone else has had difficult reactions from people, and how they've dealt with it. It makes me really disinclined to open up to people, and sort of need to talk about it as its such a recent diagnosis. Even within 2 days I've found myself even convincing myself that they're right, it's not really cancer, and therefore thinking I have no right to be worried or upset about it. 

  • Hi,

    I'm sorry you are gong through all this right now.


    I think you are right, partly it is that younger people don't know what to say because they have never had to deal with anything like this. Plus people want to give you courage  that everything will be ok. The best friend is the one who listens when you want to talk, and just understands.


    If you need to talk this through with anyone please do ring the lovely helpline 0808 808 0000 it is a freephone number.

    Lynda.

    Please take a few moments to fill in your profile to let people know what your connection is to Cancer, and a little about your story. This really helps us know how to answer your questions with the most relevant information

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember

    Hi Roph,

    I was diagnosed with my first skin cancer aged 24 (I'd been misdiagnosed for over a year) and remember the shock and disbelief well. I was regularly asked if I'd used sunbeds or lived abroad (neither of which I had) because I was so young. I got tested for Gorlin's syndrome (a genetic condition which leaves you prone to skin cancer), and I'm sure the oncologist will give you a thorough check up and may even suggest this test.


    My BCC was on my forehead and I had plastic surgery to remove it using a forehead flap to cover the hole. Although the initial results were gruesome, I have to say within a year and with make up you couldn't tell. 


    Like you, I struggled telling people and chose not to. I took all my holidays from work to recover and upon return, I told people I'd come off my bike! I don't think anyone believed me but it stopped them asking questions. I am now upfront with people about any surgeries as I feel it's my duty to warn people of the dangers of the sun. You have to do what you feel comfortable with. 


    Some people will "down play" the diagnosis, maybe because they feel uncomfortable talking about it or are trying to make you feel better but cancer is a scary word and you should confide in close friends (or the lovely people on this forum) with your fears.


    It sounds as though you have a good Dr who has referred you to all the right people which is honestly half the battle. My GP prescribed steroids and sunshine to clear up my BCC!


    I wish you well on your journey and hope you get your appointments through soon, the waiting is so hard.


    If you have any questions, I'll help you the best I can from my own experiences.


    Take care,

    Lorraine 



  • FormerMember
    FormerMember

    Hi Roph,

    I had an excision in December of something on the side of my nose that had been there for ages and really didnt think it was worth worrying about, but my husband encouraged me to get it checked.  I was pretty shocked to be told mid Jan over the phone that it is BCC and that they weren't sure if the margins were big enough.  I was told to look at information online and I would be hearing from them ... 3 weeks later and I still haven't heard anything.  My biggest reaction was disbelief And the unfairness of it all, 4 months post spinal surgery and the death of my father, shortly followed by the death of my brother.  Then this! Surely a mistake! 


     I didn't want to tell anyone and felt like I shouldn't make a fuss, because as cancer goes it's not a bad one, there are many people worse off than me etc etc, I didn't want to bother people with it, worry them or have to talk about it and then have to somehow try to make them feel better about it, and anyway the consultant told me over the phone it's very slow growing and I'm not going to die from it....  So why then do I feel anxious, confused, sad, stressed, and guilty about being a burden to others and especially to my husband who has supported me through the past 4 months of surgery and bereavement only to deliver another blow for him.  No matter how low on the evil cancer scale that BCC sits, it still is a shock.  I remember waking up the day after the phone call and the first thing I thought on waking was 'I've got cancer'


    So tonight I phoned the Macmillan helpline and spoke to someone firstly about my feelings and then To a specialist nurse, both of whom reassured me that my feelings are normal and gave me good advice about chasing up the hospital to find out what's happening, they also pointed me to this brilliant forum, where already I've found people who are experiencing just the same challenges as me and its massively helpful.  I suddenly don't feel quite so alone in my thoughts.


    I hope you get great treatment and care and gain comfort from others on here who really understand what you're going through.


    R



  • FormerMember
    FormerMember

    Hi Roph,

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve experienced unhelpful comments from people you’ve spoken to. A lot of people simply don’t know how to react when you bring up the subject of cancer because they haven’t been there, and don’t understand how you’re feeling. You’ve covered just about every possible reaction in your post, and it’s not surprising you feel upset.

    But try to forget this and focus on how you’re going to deal with your cancer. Clearly, you understand that it could have been so much worse and you have a positive attitude to your situation, which is a great step forward. You’ve now had a definitive diagnosis and soon you’ll be getting the treatment which will deal with the problem. You’ve also made an important step by coming to this forum. Talking to survivors and fellow-sufferers will make you feel much better, because you have something in common, and they will understand what you’re going through. MacMillan have set up this wonderful website so you can contact people with experience, understanding and real empathy for your situation. If you need help and support, you will find it here. 

    If you need help from a specialist, there's also a FREE helpline: 0808 808 00 00 - Monday - Friday, 9am-8pm.

    Always here if you want to talk.

    Wishing you all you would wish yourself,

    LuckyBoy.

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember

    So sorry to hear this is happening to you.  And the reactions from people too.  When i told people about my diagnosis i think some people said things like that to take the worry out of the situation for themselves.  If they managed to convince themselves it was "just BCC" then they will convince themselves that everything will be fine.  It was a way of them dealing with it.  Maybe this is the case with some of the people you've spoken to.  Not sure about others though.  Some people think they know everything and can be really annoying at times.  

    It is very early days for you.  This is your BCC and this is something you are going to go through.  Give yourself time to think about the situation.  It's a hard thing to come to terms with.  Really hope you can get some good sensible support from people.  Ignore the others.

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Hi. I had an appointment 3 weeks ago at dermatology. They thought it could be bcc/melanoma. I had it removed the same day. But the wait was agonising for the results. I had it confirmed this week that it was bcc/rodent ulcer and it had all been removed. The 3 week wait was the worst ever. Imagining the worst case scenario! Then feeling guilty Incase it came back ok! Thinking I was making a drama out of a crisis. So glad it has been removed. But it doesn't stop you worrying. People think thats it all over now. It's hard to go back to normality! I understand your feelings. Anger, guilt, sadness,  frustrated, confused. Relief. I hope all goes well for you! 

    Cxrl. 

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Hi Cxrl,

    My story sounds similar to yours although I haven't been officially diagnosed yet.  I had a biopsy last week and my dermatologist called me this week to say that the results came back and it shows signs that BCC is there but further tests needed.  This has to be sent to a pathologist now for a second opinion and I will have to wait another week.  


    When I got the phone call I was completely shocked. I thought this meant for sure that I have it.  Since then it feels like people around me are questioning me.  I have been told I am just panicking and I feel as though I am creating a drama over nothing.  I feel like I have no right to be worried and I am wondering if I am overreacting




  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    High Maya!  Please don't panick!! If it is there, it's one of the easier to treat!  They might want a second opinion to see how far it is!  As it can go to different levels of the skin!  But, as I said, don't panick!! 

    You aren't over reacting!  Anyone being told they have a "cancer" goes into melt down!  Which is totally understandable!  Hopefully, you won't wait too long to hear back from them!! I know sometimes the waiting can be the hardest part!! 
    Where is your BCC?? 
    CXX 
  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Thanks for getting back to me Cxrl.  It's a very surreal feeling.  I didn't think I would be dealing with this hence the shock! I went to a dermatologist for a free spot check.  I was concerned about a couple of moles that have just seemed to appear over the last year.  The derm said they were all fine.  While I was in there I asked about a scar that I had on my nose.  I got sunburned 3 years ago and I seemed to get a little scar after it however over the last year the scar has become deeper and wider.  No strange colours or mole ust a dent on the bridge of my nose that looks like a scar.  What about you?

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    I have come across your post and I am feeling exactly the same ( I’m due to see the plastics on Tuesday) I have had my bcc for a couple of years at least , it’s under my eye , I am so scared , of everything to do with it , and even though rationally speaking it’s not going to kill me I feel as though there’s no light at the end of the tunnel 

    i hope when I’ve been on Tuesday this feeling will go 

    l x