Wilma is a skin cancer specialist nurse, here to answer your questions about different...
I've just copied this over from elsewhere as advised. I think I was diagnosed with BCC about ten days ago but the appointment with the hospital dermatologist was very confusing. I'm going out of my mind with worry. The dermatologist told me I'd need radiation. The growth is on my cheek quite close to the eye and the nose. I can't stop googling awful medical papers and photographs. I have a biopsy in a week and a half and I'm terrified of needles but the dermatologist said sedation isn't available and I'm scared that I will shake so much that they can't do the procedure. I'm scared of the cancer and I'm terrified of the disfigurement to my face that the surgery will cause. I've posted on this forum because I am at my wits' end.
Hi Elizabeth8 and welcome to the skin cancer group where you'll find lots of lovely people who are going through or have gone through the same thing as you.
It's quite natural to be worried and to try and find out as much as possible when you're first diagnosed. However, can I suggest that you stop googling and only look on reputable websites such as this one or Cancer Research UK for information. As you've discovered googling only causes you to worry more and a lot of information out there is either out of date or shows worse case scenarios.
You may find this information on BCCs useful as you'll see it's usually slow growing and almost never spreads to another part of the body. It's good that your appointment for your biopsy has come through so quickly. The biopsy should be over very quickly and is done under a local anaesthetic. I understand you're terrified of needles but the administration of the anaesthetic is usually very quick and once that's done you won't feel anything else.
Waiting for the test results can be a difficult time as it may take up to a couple of weeks to get the results back. When you go for your biopsy ask how long the wait for results usually is as it differs from hospital to hospital. That way you'll have a time frame so won't worry needlessly that they're taking a long time if that's normal for your hospital.
Whilst waiting you can come back here at any time to ask questions or get support. If you feel you'd benefit from talking your feelings through with someone then the Macmillan Support Line would be a good place to get support from. It's free to call on 0808 808 0000 and is staffed by trained experts.
You mentioned that the dermatologist said that you'd receive radiotherapy treatment and if you click on the link I've created it'll take you to a Macmillan page that describes how this is used in treating skin cancer.
I understand that you're scared of cancer but please feel reassured that nearly everyone who has a BCC who has treatment is completely cured.
If you want to know about other people's experiences of BCC you can either use the search bar near the top of the page, start a new post with a specific question or simply reply to my post.
Best wishes x
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I know how you feel. I was petrified of the biopsy and the thoughts of the local anaesthetic was keeping me awake. I am a worrier but serious fear of hospitals. I hope it reassures you that it was all fine. The needle stung slightly but that was all. Felt nothing else. If you feel you would need something your GP may be able to prescribe something, just make sure you have company with you if doing that. Try not to worry and the sooner it is seen to the better.
Just wanted to let you know that I had 2 operations to remove any SCC from above my top lip. I didn't get sedated the first time as I didn't think to ask and they didn't offer, but I asked the 2nd time and got it now problem. It made such a difference so I'm sure if you ask more they will give it to you.
My face has healed really well and I'm sure yours will too, but it's a scary time so big hugs!
All the very best xx
Thank you for this information. I've stayed off the internet for a couple of days because I was terrifying myself by looking at worst case scenarios and hideous photographs. I have a tendency to seek out statistical data and this is also unwise as it scares me to death thinking that I will be in the group of people with the most dreadful outcomes.
Sorry, that was meant to be my reply to Latchbrook above. I obviously haven't got the hang of using this forum yet.
Reply to mumofboys. Thank you for your reply. I can't get the thought of needles out of my mind, and the idea of a knife slicing through my face is petrifying. I thought of asking the GP for some valium or similar, but last time I did this it didn't calm me down at all. Also, it's quite hard to get a GP appointment and I think it might be too late now as the appointment is next Friday.
Reply to Reenie50. Thank you for letting me know about your experience. I've asked twice if I can have sedation for the biopsy (first the dermatologist, secondly the nurse) and been refused both times. I hope you're right about the scarring, I'm afraid of looking deformed. Some of the pictures I've seen of people's faces eaten away are shocking and I can't get them out of my mind.
As you've just discovered when you reply to someone in a thread it just appears as the oldest post so if you want it to be a reply to someone in particular it's best to mention their name at the start.
Not googling is something I suggest to everyone but I know how hard it is. I've done it myself but unless you stick to reputable sites you'll always come up with worse case scenarios. Nobody bothers to post about how wonderful their consultant was and how easy their treatment was or what a wonderful neat scar they have as nobody's interested in reading this, except on here of course. That's why you'll always come across horror stories and terrible photos and statistics.
Remember, BCCs are very slow growing and nearly everyone's cured with simple surgery.
Now stop googling!
hi Elizabeth I was diagnosed with a BCC in 2013 and like you I was terrified after googling images etc. That was the worst thing I could have done. Please don’t look at any more.
My dermatologist new I had a BCC so referred me to an ENT consultant who did the operation under local anaesthetic. It was scary because I wasn’t sure what expect. It was just under my nostril and I thought I would have a horrible scar. Nothing like that at all. The ENT consultant did the most amazing job and there is now hardly any evidence I had anything done.
The staff were all amazing and I am delighted with the results. It is very unlikely that anything like this would happen again. This will be over and done with before you know it.
Hi Latchbrook, thank you for explaining the forum practicalities, I thought it was me doing something wrong! You are totally correct about googling, but what has been seen cannot be unseen unfortunately. It's hard to argue with statistical data from professional medical websites - they do know what they're talking about. Even if they said that 99.9% of people are cured and only 0.1% are not, I would fret that I'd fall into the latter category, because I'm such a terrible pessimist.
You're so right that good news doesn't travel so far as bad news, but the word cancer is very, very scary no matter what. My husband died of cancer a few years ago at 56 and he had a horrific time.
Thank you, Barbara Eva. I'm frightened because I don't know what to expect really. It's one thing reading about something and quite another to actually go through it yourself. I'm also very frightened because the dermatologist said I'd need radiation. From my googling I've read that they do radiation on tumours that are more likely to come back, or are in difficult to treat positions, or on people with poor immune systems, so that's scary in itself.
I'm very sorry to hear about your husband and I can understand that you're scared because of this. However, as you've pointed out only a tiny, tiny percentage of people with BCC aren't cured.
I think that you might benefit from talking to someone on the Macmillan Support Line. It's free to call and is staffed by trained experts who can deal with emotional as well as clinical questions. The phone number and opening times appear at the bottom of the page.
Maybe counselling would help me. I am struggling at the moment.
Maybe ask the nurse to hold your hand during the injection. Mine offered the second time (second time because I had surgery not radiotherapy after the biopsy) and it was very soothing. Both procedures were quick & I didn't feel a thing after the injections. Six weeks later my surgery scar (bigger than the biopsy scar) is hardly visible. I wish you all the best.
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