Lousy, rotten skin cancer

I am now recovering from a surgery to excise a basal cell skin cancer that developed on my scalp, specifically on the rear of the right hand side. Externally, the thing was about the size of a dime but before all the cancer was excised, I had a somewhat oval shaped hole that was slighly more than 5" in diameter and deep enough to expose the skull. In order to close the thing, flaps of my scalp on both sides of the hole had to be cut loose, stretched, and then stitched in place. A week later, the stitches were removed, the flaps were undermined, stretched again, and stitched in place. All told, five weeks of cutting, stretching, and stitching were required to gain enough skin to close the damn thing. The actual closing involved about a jillion stitches and two jillion staples—at least it felt as if those numbers are accurate. All of this was done in the dermatologist’s office, under local anesthetic, and I came to dread those injections more than I can say. This was the 28th skin cancer I’ve had removed, and there are two more on my back that will be removed in a couple of weeks. I am confident that more will develop as time goes by. My beach days are over and it’s long sleeves and hats from now on. I sure do feel sorry for me.

My real point is to encourage all of you, especially you younger folk, to use buckets of sun screen. Even better, stay out of the damn sun as much as possible. If I could, I would carry pictures of my wound around with me and force sun bathers to look at them while I delivered a lecture. Tanning just ain’t worth it and I really wish I could mount a crusade against it.

Sorry to hear you’ve had to go through this. I gave up sunbathing decades ago, and I’m glad I did. I still see people with dark tans (you KNOW they were out there unprotected for hours!). They make remarks about how unhealthy I look without a tan, and I tell them I’m not nearly as unhealthy as a person who has to endure skin grafts. STAY OUT OF THE SUN! It’s not even fashionable anymore!

LouisB, let me know if there’s anything you need. I’m not too far away.

LouisB you are in my thoughts!

What really trubles me is when I see CHILDREN on a beach without sunscreen.

I am as pasty white as they come- if I were any whiter, I’d be a corpse. My aunt used to tease me about getting out and getting some sun. Last year she had a spot removed from her arm. She now praises me for slathering the sun screen on the kids when they go outside.

I’ve had about 10 removed. I grew up in Malaysia and Australia and spent my entire childhood in the sun.

I still have one on my leg and several on my face and hands to get removed. I just have to make the appointment. I had six removed at once from my back and shoulders this summer. I couldn’t sleep for a week.

My sympathies.

Luckily I’ve been extra paranoid about taking good care of my tattoos. I’ve become especially insane since my sleeve was completed a few years ago. I don’t step outside without 45 SPF lathered all over my arms.

I had a spot cut out when I was 22. I haven’t tanned since.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, LouisB.

hugs and best wishes for LouisB

Every summer I see my neighbors, the Kallikacks, out in the back yard, sunbathing, every day, and I think, who the hell still DOES that?!


I hope you’re feeling better - my dad has had a whole series of those things removed from his face!!!. Fortunately for dad, he has the sort of rugged, retired Army Colonol type look going on, so the scars sort of blend.

As for me, I used pure concentrated vitamin C under an SPF 60. Otherwise I have freckles coming out the wazoo, coupled with a lovely sun-stash.

Yup, BTDT. Had my first “pre-malignant” mole removed at age 24. First full-blown melanoma was removed almost three years ago, at age 27. Due to problems with the incision I now have a lovely half-dollar size concave scar on my calf. Fortunately we caught it early, but since skin cancer can take decades to develop I’m sure I have many more biopsies and excisions in my future. You can bet your buttons both of my kiddos (and my husband and I as well) wear SPF 45 every time we go out in the sun. Please, please, please, all you parents out there, make sure your kids use sunscreen!

Thanks for the kind words and good wishes. I am pretty much back up to speed but the procedure I described took a lot out of me—at my age I don’t have the reserves I used to. I was actually suprised to learn that I can’t snap back like I could. I have several retired neighbors who have been very good about checking on me and offering to run errands.

I grew up in Dallas County, Texas back in the 40s and 50s. If it wasn’t raining, I was out doors. As a child, I sustained several sunburns and I suppose that was when the real damage was done. I’ve also been burned a few times as an adult, which makes me wonder how much I deserve to use the word “adult.”

Anyway, it makes me cringe to see people turning pink in the sun. Marcie and I walk along the beach near our house and it really upsets me to see people allowing todlers to turn pink. I have tried to talk to a few but I think they see me as a nosy old guy who should mind his own damn business. Oh, well, I had to learn the hard way and at least I’m not alone.

My dad had his fifth basal cell carcinoma removed from his forehead last week.

I used to sunbathe with sunscreen on, because the sun cleared up my back-acne like nothing else, but I never got a tan… 50 spf doesn’t allow that. :slight_smile:

My dad never wore sunscreen and would sunbathe for hours and hours. I can’t be out for more than 20 minutes or so without burning, so it’s always sunscreen for me.

I did have a “pre cancerous” mole removed from my right buttock (not something that’s ever seen the sun) when I was 23, so even if you do protect yourself, you still need to keep an eye on any moles.

Good luck to you.

I really hate to fire up this “pity party” thread, but since the major head cutting, I’ve had two more removed. one from my left arm and one from my back. They were both small and relatively trouble free. At the same time, I had a biopsy sample taken from a spot on my forehead. The dermatologist just called with the happy news that it is malignant and I go back Monday, Nov. 22, to have it removed. Damn, I am scared.

And, the dermatologist did give me copies of the photographs from the previous procedure. They are gory and bloody and not at all pleasant. I’m thinking of posting them somewhere, along with a lecture about sun screen, etc., but I don’t know where I can do that----if anyone has suggestions about a place to post them, let me know. I can’t promise I will do it, but I am sure tempted.

My sympathy, LouisB and thanks for the warning. I have to confess I’ve been far too lax about sunscreen lately (I’ve had several bad burns this year) and I should know better. I’m a redhead with blue eyes who grew up in Florida and I’ve had two “abnormal” moles removed. I’m 37 now and I dread what will happen to my skin in a few years. I’ve got to be more vigilant…

I’m sorry. A friend of mine has had her face carved up for skin cancer removal too many times to mention. Her work requires her to look presentable in public, too, so in addition to the emotional aggravation, she can’t work for a while each time she has it done.

All the same, I’m glad that she can be treated. Mr. S’s sister was not so lucky. He says I would have liked her.

Hang in there, everyone, and keep fighting the good fight! Best of luck to you, LouisB. Let us know how it goes.

“Trust me about the sunscreen.”

Best of luck and please keep us informed, Louis.

I’m a sun-protection evangelist, even though I’ve never had any personal experience with skin cancer (knock on wood). I only hope I got smart enough soon enough…

Here’s a link for the interested.

Pay particular attention to the fact that a lot of sunscreens do not protect adequately against UVA rays. A good sunscreen will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

My mom and her sisters grew up in Southern California, doing their best to tan their pasty Irish skin. They all have to get spots zapped off occasionally now. My grandpa played golf without any sun protection for years, and eventually developed skin cancer on the top of his head, which spread to his eyes and caused him to go blind.

And I have coworkers who’ve advised me to go tan because I look so pale. Right.