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Thu Sep 30, 2021, 02:02 PM

OMG! It's possible to overdo the mask thing.

I had a dermatology appointment this morning. My father had melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer, and it is hereditary. About 3 years ago, I had a precancerous lesion removed from my right arm. It would have developed into squamous cell carcinoma, not melanoma.

So I went for a head to toe skin checkup today, a yearly exam due to my and my father's medical histories. I am fully vaccinated but due to age and health issues, I always wear a mask around other people. A sign at the medical office said that masks were required at all times unless requested by staff to remove it.

So I declined to remove my mask during the exam, even though the PA said that all staff were vaccinated. There were no worrisome moles on my face. The rough skin patch on my wrist is worthy of observation but not suspicious - yet. Clean bill of skin health. Good.

Just before I was ready to get dressed to leave, the PA reminded me that frequent itching of a spot is a symptom and I remembered scratching the side of my nose lately. So, I thought, why not let her take a peak? We're both vaccinated. I pulled down the mask. Sure enough. The itchy spot is the same kind of precancerous lesion that I had a few years ago on my arm.

Damn good thing I removed the mask. She sprayed it with liquid nitrogen and I go back in 8 weeks to make sure that it worked and the skin is healing.

Almost overdid the mask thing.

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply OMG! It's possible to overdo the mask thing. (Original post)
wnylib Sep 2021 OP
secondwind Sep 2021 #1
SWBTATTReg Sep 2021 #2
wnylib Sep 2021 #7
SWBTATTReg Oct 2021 #14
wnylib Oct 2021 #15
irisblue Sep 2021 #3
wnylib Sep 2021 #8
NJCher Sep 2021 #4
SCantiGOP Sep 2021 #5
wnylib Sep 2021 #9
Solly Mack Sep 2021 #6
Marthe48 Sep 2021 #10
calimary Sep 2021 #11
wnylib Sep 2021 #12
calimary Sep 2021 #13
Wounded Bear Oct 2021 #16
wnylib Oct 2021 #17
Wounded Bear Oct 2021 #18

Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 02:09 PM

1. Wow, what a story!

So glad you removed your mask. Hope all goes smoothly from now on.


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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 02:12 PM

2. You're a smart cookie to remember this...the skin cancer (I am too, prone to this skin condition),

or pre-skin cancers are deadly if not caught early!!

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 09:30 PM

7. This lesion was an actinic keratosis,

which is a precursor to squamous cell carcinoma. It is different from melanoma and never turns into melanoma. Squamous cell carcinoma grows slowly and is not as deadly as melanoma since it is usually detected early enough to treat it successfully. Catching it at the precancerous lesion stage, as happened with me today, is what usually happens. Actinic keratosis lesions do not always develop into cancer, but the risk definitely exists, so they should ALWAYS be removed when found.

So it's not the same skin cancer that my father had, but this is the second time it has happened with me in just a couple years. The PA said it is likely that I will develop other ones so I need to be checked regularly.

Actinic keratosis lesions are caused by sun exposure. They can occur at any age but usually show up after age 40 and the possibility increases with age. Contributing factors are tanning booths (which I have never used), outdoor work, and frequent outdoor activities like boating and sunbathing at beaches. Fair-skinned people with blond or red hair are more vulnerable, but people of color can get it, too, so they should not assume that they can't.

I deal with things like this by soaking up all the information that I can find about it. So, my apologies for the lecture on this, but if it helps anyone to recognize their own risks, it is worth it.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #7)

Fri Oct 1, 2021, 01:19 PM

14. Don't apologize, I agree w/ you, that if we help someone else in the DU world learn about

these skin ailments/cancers/etc., then perhaps we helped someone else too.

Sounds like you are doing the things that one must do, to avoid future cases of these lesions (avoiding the sun etc.), my skin has always been an issue (fair skinned) so I avoid the sun religiously and it's has worked. In the years since my aggressive attempts to moderate my sun exposure (to zero), I've had no issues thus far, after so many (perhaps 10 lesions) in my younger days. My mom was the starting point, she seemed like she was getting zapped every six months or so, and I was glad she was very aggressive in watching herself for problem skin areas.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #14)

Fri Oct 1, 2021, 03:21 PM

15. If you are limiting your sun exposure

that much, I hope that you take Vitaminn D supplements. Sun exposure is a dilemma. Too much and you get skin cancer. Too little and you develop Vitamin D deficiency.

Fair-skinned people are at higher risk, but people with darker skin can also get skin cancer if they are exposed to high amounts of the sun's UV light rays.

My father had a mix of Native American and European heritage from both of his parents. Native Americans have a range of skin melanin amounts due to interrelations with people of European descent. Of my father's 8 siblings, 6 had black hair, deep brownish black eyes, and dark beige to medium brown skin. 2 of them, including my father, had black hair, but lighter, medium beige skin and blue eyes. One of them had light brown hair, very fair skin, and blue-gray eyes. (The "white sheep" in the family.)

My father grew up on a farm, with a lot of sun exposure. He moved into the city after marrying my mother, but spent every spare minute outdoors in his favorite hobby of gardening and landscaping.

My skin tone is light tannish beige, or like a faded olive color. Before it turned gray, my hair was dark brown. My eyes are hazel, brown and green. I should not be at as high of a risk as fair-skinned redheads or blonds, but here I am with 2 incidents of precancerous skin lesions within 5 years and a prognosis from a dermatologist that I will develop more. As a child, I played outdoors a LOT. I grew up on Lake Erie where there is a state park beach resort and spent a lot of time there. When I was 13, I got a very severe, head to toe, sunburn during a school party at the beach. Serious sunburns even as young as teen years raise the risk factor, regardless of ethinicity or coloring.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 03:42 PM

3. Does the PA check the inside of your ear canal?

There was a local story about a local athlete with a skin cancer in the ear canal, (so now my ears are itching now that I've asked)

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Response to irisblue (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 09:34 PM

8. She checked my scalp and neck,

so I am sure that she saw the outer ears, but I don't think she checked inside the ears. At least I don't remember her doing it. Thanks for the tip. I will be alert for it now and might message her about it.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 03:59 PM

4. wow, wnylib

that sounds like a close call!

So glad you checked into it!

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 04:57 PM

5. Dermatologist

I had a very melanoma about 10 years ago that was caught very early so it was no problem, but had it gone for a few more years it could of course been fatal.
So, I never miss my annual dermatologist appointment, even during the pandemic.

I call it my 'underpants' interview, since I stand there in my skivvies while he looks me over.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #5)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 09:46 PM

9. My father's melanoma was discovered

accidentally. He accompanied my mother on a doctor's visit and the doctor noticed the cancerous spot on my father's forehead. He referred my father to a dermatologist who treated it. But my father did not follow up with regular checkups.

Later, he developed prostate cancer, so when he died at age 86, we don't know which cancer caused it. He was a stubborn "tough guy" who never wanted to admit to any physical illness.

I am much more attentive to things like that. Being female, I don't have his macho attitude about health. But I do have half of my genes from him, so I get dermatology exams.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 05:32 PM

6. Keep us posted!

Good story. I'd have dropped the mask, too, for that.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 09:50 PM

10. Glad you got checked and treated

Vigilance means good health

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 10:26 PM

11. Glad you caught that last itchy spot!

Please do let us know how itís healed.

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Response to calimary (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 10:49 PM

12. I won't have any news on it until

2 months from now when I go back for a checkup.

I wonder why she decided on 2 months. When I had a previous one removed, the doctor wanted to see me again after one week. Different doctor's office, which is now closed because he retired.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 30, 2021, 11:00 PM

13. Well, we're still gonna want to know.

Whenever you get the results.

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Response to wnylib (Original post)

Fri Oct 1, 2021, 03:48 PM

16. It is generally a good idea to follow your healthcare provider's instructions...



and I'm glad you did for your sake. As a skin cancer survivor myself, I go to the annual peep show myself.

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Response to Wounded Bear (Reply #16)

Fri Oct 1, 2021, 04:00 PM

17. LOL. That's exactly what it feels like, too.

A peep show, from scalp to the soles of the feet, with occasional extra close looks through a lens device that reminds me of the one that jewelers use for examining the authenticity of gems.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #17)

Fri Oct 1, 2021, 04:02 PM

18. I prefer peep shows where I'm not the one getting naked...

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