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Author Topic: Early signs of Skin Cancer  (Read 1129 times)
UkrainianTracksuit
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« on: June 10, 2020, 02:20:41 PM »

So, what did your early skin cancer spots look like?

I've a spot on my face that has been there for around 3 months. At this point, I'm not saying it is a cancerous spot, but it is bugging me that it is still there after all this time. It's scabby and no matter what I do to it, it remains...well, scabby and a bit raised. It could simply be that I take an extremely long time to heal but the fact this thing stays the same is bothersome.

With the current situation, getting a hold of my GP hasn't been easy, and office hours have been significantly been cut. I have an appointment in 2 months.

I spoke about my concern with my local renal department and they advised it was a GP issue (as I knew) but "you'll have to wait over a year for a dermatologist appointment." I'm 95% sure if I told my transplant doc that the team there could arrange something sooner.

But, it goes back to the original topic. Not going to cause a fiasco over something harmless.

Anyway, what did it look like? What did it feel like? I can't get a great view of it as I have to use a mirror so touch is my best experience with this spot.

Any input, thanks.
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MooseMom
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2020, 02:42:30 PM »

I've just recently been to a dermatologist for a checkup and was surprised to learn that I didn't have a cancerous spot because I have several odd spots that sound something like what you've described.  Google "actinic keratosis" and see if that might describe what you are seeing as that is what my spots seem to be, "scabby and a bit raised".

I'm sorry you may have to wait so long for an appointment. 

Maybe someone else on here can be more helpful!
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UkrainianTracksuit
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2020, 04:00:21 PM »

It sounds/looks similar. Thanks for that info.

When I google it, I see lots of people with severe sun damage. If I may so ask, did you have noticeable sun damage and spots in that certain area?

I don't have anything noticeable, but I wouldn't put it past the situation because it's in a place I probably missed sunscreen.
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MooseMom
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2020, 08:05:48 PM »

Of course you may ask!

No, I do not have noticeable skin damage, but it is impossible to live to my age without acquiring any sun damage at all.  The spots I have are on my back and are, oddly enough, always covered up my my oh-so-sexy one piece bathing suit, so I don't know why I would get spots there.  I've had those spots since before my transplant.

Since my transplant, however, I've developed two more spots, one on each side of my neck.  No doctor has ever even mentioned them, which is strange, but there you go.  I suppose they recognized them as "AKs" and didn't feel the need to investigate further.

I've developed one more which actually bisects my tx scar, another area that never sees the sun's rays.  Go figure.

I do use sunscreen regularly.

I hope this helps.  If you have any other questions for me, feel free to ask!

Apparently, these "AKs" are common.
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"Eggs are so inadequate, don't you think?  I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken.  Or a duck.  Or whatever they're programmed to be.  You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of last week."
rcjordan
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2020, 02:24:06 PM »

I'm blonde, very fair-skinned, outdoorsy, and burned more times than I can count when I was a boy. 

Mine was just a small, slightly raised, skin-colored mole near my ear.

Also, my dermatologist freezes off any moles that get irritated or bleed.
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SooMK
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2020, 02:57:35 PM »

How about the size? We're told to look for spots larger than a pencil eraser. I go to the dermo every year and so far everything I've been concerned about has been not cancerous. The NP freezes off a lot of spots if they bother me for which I'm grateful. I just last year realized that I have brown spots on my left hand because that's the one near the window when I drive. I can never remember to put sunscreen on my hands before I leave the house. The NP calls these "wisdom spots" but I'm not fooled. I try to avoid mirrors in general so I only recently realized I have some of those flat brown spots on the sides of my face. Sigh. Let us know how you make out.
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SooMK
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Simon Dog
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2020, 07:26:56 PM »

I had two derm exams at the same practice, but different MDs.  One was standing in my underware for a 3 minute look-over.

The other done by this fantastic Vietnamese MD (MIT, Stanford, Harvard Med, Mass general fellowship) was completely different.  Laid down on the table and had everything checked out from my scalp to between my toes and everything in between, then flipped over for the other side.   Asked about a dark area on my cheek the size of a dime "harmless" - she then used a liquid N sprayer on it, and when the scab fell off the dark spot was gone.

There is a quality difference in these exams - be sure to get a derm who spends time and pays attention to detail.   If (s)he doesn't at least poke around your hair to look at the scalp, consider upgrading.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 05:08:43 PM by Simon Dog » Logged
UkrainianTracksuit
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2020, 03:37:00 PM »

Thanks for all the responses.

All of this just augments the need to get this checked even more.

It's like MM said: you can't expect to live without accruing some sun damage. I've never had a sunburn and I avoided the sun for the most part (except for outdoor sports), but I did live on the Black Sea for some years, without sunscreen  :banghead; and it was very sunny/hot. Stupid youth.

I have very few moles anywhere at all though I do look at them regularly to esnure they are okay. However, what you guys described here leads me to believe this should definitely be looked at. Pencil eraser sized, a bit raised, red scaly scabby. Even if it is an AK (I want to add 47...) at least there is some peace of mind.

My renal team managing here just tells me to check my own skin. Wear sunscreen. Wear a hat. Have not mentioned seeing the dermatologist probably because we don't have one! And then that leads to Simon Dog's suggestion here: This is socialized medicine here. I have no choice. Haha, I go where they send the referral. Sure, I can ask for a second opinion, but again... If they refer me out of town, that would be best as it would be to a major city centre.

So that's why I am going to ask my husband to take me to a private clinic out of town if things move awfully slow. I found one that does skin cancers and cosmetic procedures with good doctor information.
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Simon Dog
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2020, 05:09:58 PM »

No need for a special clinic - just book a derm exam with any decent board certified dermatologist.   My transplant Neph offered me a referral to one in the hospital he works at, but I used one closer to home.
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MooseMom
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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2020, 08:19:43 PM »

UT, the aks on my back are all larger than a pencil eraser, but if they were to get bigger all of a sudden, I'd be concerned.  So, size in and of itself is not the worry, rather, it's a change in size, I guess.

This is obviously something that will niggle at the back of your brain until you are checked out, so it might be worth getting it seen to at a private clinic if that will make things go faster.

Let us know how you get on, OK?  I'm curious to know what you find out.
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2020, 07:41:29 AM »

Very small update:

My scheduled appointment got pushed back again so we will go the private clinic route. Hopefully COVID precautions doesn't interfere with that either!
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MooseMom
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2020, 08:12:39 AM »

How frustrating!  Still, thanks for the update.
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"Eggs are so inadequate, don't you think?  I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken.  Or a duck.  Or whatever they're programmed to be.  You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of last week."
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2020, 09:28:47 AM »

I hate the sun, always have, and always have avoided it.  I can burn from exposure to moonlight.  Which is why I like downtown.  When I go out running, I cling to the shade of tall buildings.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 08:55:52 PM by enginist » Logged
kristina
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2020, 01:43:38 AM »

I hate the sun, always have, and always have avoided it.  I can burn from exposure to moonlight.  Which is why I like downtown.  When I go out running, I cling to the shade of tall buildings.

Hello Enginist,
I am very sorry for you and the symptoms you describe.
Has your doctor checked-up on SLE/MCTD/Lupus ? Hating sun- and moonlight could mean, that your body does not like it and could this be connected to SLE/MCTD?  Unfortunately SLE/MCTD can usually not be diagnosed that easily, as it is a very rare disease, which only shows-up during a severe flare-up.  But you could help yourself by observing your BP and check-up if it rises due to sunlight and/or ultraviolet light & moonlight etc?
It might also help you to wear a hat with a large brim to protect your face & sun-glasses & cover your body by wearing long sleeves etc. and of course, use some SPF 50+ sun- cream
If you research on the Internet you might find that going for a run is not that advisable and research has shown, that a long gentle walk goes “a long way” to keep as fit as possible. Good luck and best wishes from Kristina. :grouphug;
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enginist
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2020, 11:33:50 AM »

Hi Katrina.  Welcome back.  I'm glad that you decided to rejoin us. 

No, I don't have lupus, and I'm not a vampire.  My problem is that I have fair Irish skin.  The solution for it is simple: stay out of the sun. 

I know you like your little walks, which you have mentioned on previous posts.  But I am an inveterate runner.  There is nothing more exhilarating than high-intensity interval training, which really gets those endorphins flowing.  And it helps to have good running music.  I share with you your love for classical music, but when it come to running, I find myself more motivated by trance or house or EDM at 180 bpm.  On good days, I can run forever. 

Plus, I'm convinced that being a fitness buff has helped me ward off the worst effects of several illnesses, including sepsis and CKD.  When I can't run any more, I'll know that I am done.

Again, let me say that your absence was noticed, and that long-time members like you bring value to the site.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 12:44:34 PM by enginist » Logged
MooseMom
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2020, 08:35:44 PM »

Hi Katrina.  Welcome back.  I'm glad that you decided to rejoin us. 

No, I don't have lupus, and I'm not a vampire.  My problem is that I have fair Irish skin.  The solution for it is simple: stay out of the sun. 

I know you like your little walks, which you have mentioned on previous posts.  But I am an inveterate runner.  There is nothing more exhilarating than high-intensity interval training, which really gets those endorphins flowing.  And it helps to have good running music.  I share with you your love for classical music, but when it come to running, I find myself more motivated by trance or house or EDM at 180 bpm.  On good days, I can run forever. 

Plus, I'm convinced that being a fitness buff has helped me ward off the worst effects of several illnesses, including sepsis and CKD.  When I can't run any more, I'll know that I am done.

Again, let me say that your absence was noticed, and that long-time members like you bring value to the site.

Yes, it IS nice to see a post from Kristina!   :thumbup;

I am not a runner, although I do like the idea of it, but I do like walking, hiking, swimming, and particularly gardening.  When I say "gardening", I don't mean just watering my posies, rather, I'm talking hauling mulch and other rather heavy duty chores.  I always wear sunscreen, but OMG, I sweat like a stuck pig with that stuff on.  I have used sprays and creams and lotions and sticks, and I can't find any sun screen that won't make me overheat while working outdoors.  Do you wear sunscreen, and if you do, can you recommend one to me?  Or do you just stick to the shadows of tall buildings?

House and EDM work for me when I'm walking, so I understand that particular musical choice.  I agree that keeping physically fit helps keep the worst symptoms of CKD at bay if you can possibly manage it.  It's also the best mood lifter.  Good for you!
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"Eggs are so inadequate, don't you think?  I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken.  Or a duck.  Or whatever they're programmed to be.  You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of last week."
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« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2020, 10:30:54 AM »

I use avoidance over lotion, but apparently you're not the only one having problems with their sunscreen, MM.  According to a brief online search, Banana Boat makes a water-proof, sweat-proof SPF30 that is said to be highly breathable.  Others recommend the KINeSYS brand or Coppertone Sport Ultra.  There are probably others.

You don't need to be a runner to help your limbs stay limber.  Any kind of activity that gets you off the couch will work, and you are not a slouch in that department.  You also get some exercise from lifting those thousand-page novels you like to read.

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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2020, 05:40:13 AM »

Oh no, you've got me started. I love talking about sunscreen! Every day, 365, even if I'm staying in the house, I sunscreen face/neck/chest/ arms and hands before getting dressed and reapply if outside more than just running to the car.

As they don't degrade after 2 hrs or burn my eyes and are easier on the environment, I try to use mineral only sunscreen on my face; my favorite of the less expensive is Australian Gold tinted spf 50. get it at CVS or Walmart for about $12. Dries matte, doesn't make you look like a pink ghost. I wear it almost every day year round. My favorite all mineral (pricier, not waterproof) sunscreen is Paula's Choice light daily defense spf 30. Lightly tinted; I'm not much of a makeup wearer but it looks natural. Waterproof sunscreens are harder to remove from your face; I find an oil based cleanser followed by a regular cleanser removes it best.

People love Elta MD all mineral face sunscreens, but I found the spf 44 sport one too greasy and stayed shiny. Would work if you had dry skin. The Australian Gold is a little drying if you tend to be dry skinned.

My favorite body sunscreen (which was chemical) was Coppertone foam but its been discontinued. There is a BananaBoat dry sport that is supposed to be less greasy. I've used dry sport sprays before, but had to go outside to spray it on as overspray makes your floors slick.

I swam every day when I was in Florida this past winter and wore long sleeved, high neck rash guard shirts from Landsend that cover arms/chest/back. Didn't find them sweaty at all, but I was wet! And a hat. Always a hat.

Don't forget the back of your hands. I carry little tubes of sunscreen in the car (the mineral ones don't break down in the heat) and my dash is all smudgy. By mineral, I mean zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide. Its formulated better than it used to be.

Sunshine is good for our bones and our mood! Enjoy.

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UkrainianTracksuit
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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2020, 06:39:24 AM »

I honestly didn't get into the sunscreen habit until tx. My mother always advised to avoid the sun mainly for wrinkles and "you can see all the women who spent a lot of time in the sun because they have faces like shoeleather!" however I did train in the sun. Biathlon training means you are outside both in winter and summer. But, I was young and dumb, so stuck on some (ineffective, but looked cool) eye black and did my thing. And then, Black Sea life means you are exposed to the sun whether you like it or not.

But then, transplant happened and I got into sunscreen religiously. A big hat. Sheer cover ups. All that. I use Sisley Sunle˙a because it is non-greasy, no residue and moisturizers at the same time. It (or at least I thought) took care of my sun needs for running errands or going for walks. Sisley has an "after sun" product too and while it smells nice and "promotes the skin's natural defenses", it's most likely junk science. So says my rough patch...  ::)

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MooseMom
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2020, 08:37:36 AM »

I use avoidance over lotion, but apparently you're not the only one having problems with their sunscreen, MM.  According to a brief online search, Banana Boat makes a water-proof, sweat-proof SPF30 that is said to be highly breathable.  Others recommend the KINeSYS brand or Coppertone Sport Ultra.  There are probably others.{/quote]

Cupcake mentioned Banana Boat, also, so I may check that out.  Right now I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist for when I swim.  It's "broad spectrum" which is supposed to be best, with an SPF of 70.  I use it mainly because it has a "full reach design", meaning I can turn it upside down to spray on my back without it going wonky.  For my face and neck, I just spray it into my hand and rub it into my skin.

When I'm gardening, I wear protective sleeves, not so much from the sun, but from thorns and such.

Quote
You don't need to be a runner to help your limbs stay limber.  Any kind of activity that gets you off the couch will work, and you are not a slouch in that department.  You also get some exercise from lifting those thousand-page novels you like to read.


edited to add:  Sorry, I don't know what's going on with this post!  I've tried messing about with the quote function, but it's still a mess.  Apologies.

I was pretty couchy slouchy yesterday.  I needed a day of rest.  But yeah, my biceps are in pretty good shape from carting around Anna Karenina.   :P
« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 08:42:10 AM by MooseMom » Logged

"Eggs are so inadequate, don't you think?  I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken.  Or a duck.  Or whatever they're programmed to be.  You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of last week."
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2020, 08:43:10 AM »

Sorry about my above post.  Something's goofy about the quote function.  I've spent too much time trying to fix it to no avail.  Apologies.
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"Eggs are so inadequate, don't you think?  I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken.  Or a duck.  Or whatever they're programmed to be.  You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of last week."
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« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2020, 09:03:21 AM »

Cupcake, you are so hard core!  Well done you!

To be fair, I am pretty sure my perspiration problems stem from my tacrolimus.  The patient information sheet that comes with it warns of this.  I use different types of sunscreen for different occasions and for different seasons.  Summers are problematic for me, and wearing sunscreen makes things worse, so I'm constantly having to towel my face off and then reapply my sunscreen.  I do wear a visor when swimming if possible, but I do not wear a hat gardening or dioing anything else outside because all of that heat gets trapped in my head, and it makes me nuts.

So, I have to employ other techniques.  When I'm in the garden, I follow the shade.  I've tried wearing a hat, but it's always getting knocked off.

I'm of the opinion that any broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is effective if you remember to use it and remember to reapply it.  And in my case, I have to remember to keep hydrated.

UT, I was the same.  When I was a teenager, that was the era of using suntan oils to get the deepest tan possible, but now circumstances have changed!  I hope you get your crusty bit looked at soon.  It's frustrating having to wait.
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"Eggs are so inadequate, don't you think?  I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken.  Or a duck.  Or whatever they're programmed to be.  You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of last week."
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« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2020, 12:09:29 PM »

Cupcake, I just ordered a swim t-shirt from Land's End, not so much to deflect the rays but to conceal an unsightly scar.
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MooseMom
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« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2020, 12:22:40 PM »

I love Land's End's tugless tank swimsuits.  I've worn only those for at least a decade.  I haven't ever bought one of their SPF suits (or T-shirts or anything), so I'd be interested to know how effective they are.

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"Eggs are so inadequate, don't you think?  I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken.  Or a duck.  Or whatever they're programmed to be.  You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of last week."
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« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2020, 04:52:08 PM »

At risk of sounding like a commercial for Landsend, they are supposed to be SPF 50+ and I would say they are at least. Enginist-I even wear one in the indoor pool as I think it hides my flabby arms and keeps my shoulders warmer if the ventilation is blowing. Plus, I think I look more like a Bond girl when I wear the one that is all black and zips up to my chin.

I was in the Villages this past snowbird season and probably about half of the water aerobics and water volley ball players wear some sort of rash guard shirt. Men and women. Just makes sense.
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