Total Body Skin Check

Well, my medical year in review includes something that I believe gets looked at every day, but it all to often overlooked in the care of the adult survivor of childhood cancer who received radiation.

I will link to the Children’s Oncology Group/s risk factors and guidelines at the end of the post.

This year I set a record [the kind you don’t want to set, mind you]; I had 3 skin biopsies [and] all looked benign yet came back positive for Basal Cell Carcinoma. My nurse practitioner knows that skin cancer does not “look” like your typical skin cancer on my skin; I blame that on the trifecta of skin cancer: fair skin, radiation therapy as a child, and immunosuppression.

So, our rule of thumb is if I’m concerned, we biopsy.

True Story:

I had a 6 month total body skin check in November and 3 weeks later my husband asked me about a spot on the inner aspect of my right upper arm. I said, ‘we looked closely at it, but decided to watch and wait”.

As I said the words watch and wait, I thought WATCH and WAIT, since when do we watch and wait!

So, I called and was seen on Friday for biopsy. The following Friday, 12/17, I received word that it is, in fact, basal cell carcinoma that will need to be excised. The nurse scheduler was SO sunny. She presented the scratch up method of removal and the surgical excision method, then asked when I’d like the excision to be done.

You see, being immunosuppressed carries a theoretical risk that any malignancy could be accelerated due to the tamping down of my God-given immune system. Thus, documenting clear margins is of great import to me.

So, I am set for 01/04/2019 to have the remaining basal cells removed and I pray that there will be no more.

As an organ transplant recipient, I also carry the risk for squamous cell carcinoma, so skin checks are an essential component to my ongoing health care surveillance. It takes 15 minutes and it’s done.

Well worth your time.

For more information on Skin Health, go HERE.

Looking for an excellent dermatology practice here in the metro Atlanta area, consider the Dermatology Center of Atlanta.

*All opinions are my own and based on my personal experience with providers.

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