Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinomas are considered the most common type of skin cancer, nearly eight out of every 10 non-melanoma skin cancers. These cancers form within the basal cell layer of the skin.

Basal cell carcinoma generally occurs in sections of the skin that receive the most exposure to the sun, like the head, neck, face, arms, and back of the hands. These cancers are usually slow growing and normally do not spread or metastasize to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. However, the chance increases when left untreated. That is why early detection and treatment is so important.

Basal cell cancers can also return in the same place that the original cancer was found. Patients who have had basal cell carcinoma once have an increased risk of developing a new basal cell cancer elsewhere. Potentially, as many as 50 percent of these patients will develop a new basal cell carcinoma within five years of the first diagnosis.

Basal-cell carcinoma sometimes resemble non-cancerous skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. So, it is extremely important that the following warning signs be checked by a physician.

• Any open sore that bleeds, oozes, and crusts that will not heal for several weeks to a month is one of the most common signs of this disease.

• An irritated red spot usually seen on the face, neck, arms, or legs. It could be scaly, itch, and/or be painful, or at other times cause no discomfort.

• A shiny bump or nodule that can sometimes be confused with a mole. It can be pink, red, white, tan, brown, or black.

• A reddish growth, slightly elevated that is crusted and indented in the center.

• A scar-like area that is white, yellow, and/or is shiny, waxy, and with a poorly defined border. This area usually indicates the presence of an invasive basal-cell carcinoma that is larger than it appears to be on the surface.

Remember, basal-cell carcinoma is easily treated in the early stages, but the larger the infected area the more extreme the treatment. Sometimes we are our best physician when it comes to diagnosis, so please check your skin often and take any concerns to an expert immediately. It could save a great deal of pain and suffering.

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Summer and Skin Cancer

Summer is here and that means longer days, more time outdoors, hotter temperatures, stronger UV rays, and more skin cancer. Of course we all need Vitamin D, especially D-3, from the sun, but we do not need to be exposed to the sun’s UV rays the entire day to get our allotment. I, for one, love the summer and intend to get the most out of it with beach walks, golf, tennis, gardening, and grilling out. But I’ve been through too many skin cancers to ignore the danger associated with sunburns and /or over exposure to the sun.

I think we need to be smart enough to realize that a sunburn is not only painful but can be potentially harmful to our bodies. The following are some guidelines that could be helpful.
• Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
• Do not burn.
• Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
• Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
• Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
• Apply sunscreen all exposed areas of your body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
• Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
• Use a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
• Examine your skin head-to-toe at least once every month.
• See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

These simple guidelines can help prevent basal-cell carcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Enjoy the summer outdoor activities, but please be smart and protect your skin.

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Continued Success

Several more friends of my extended family have lost their battles with cancer this past week. It is one of the reasons I continue to share my friend’s posts so that there is always something encouraging to read and a good reason to love each day for what it is.

“Went to Boston to Dana Farber this morning for my monthly check up. Met with Dr. Antin. He is very happy with all of my blood counts, along with Pam and I. All of my counts are improving every month and all except two are within the recommended parameters. The two that are out, are just barely out. He also continued weaning me off from the anti rejection drug, with the goal of stopping entirely at my next visit. That has me a little nervous, but I have to trust in him as he has gotten me this far. Have not felt this good in years, just need to put in my time until October when I can hopefully get out of isolation.”

Keep fighting, my Vermont friend. And never, ever, quit.

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Loving Life

In the past two months three friends have lost their fight with cancer and six more have been diagnosed with different types and stages. So, it is always good to hear positive news about someone’s courage and dedication to living. Here is the latest on my friend in New England still battling cancer.

“Went to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute this morning for my monthly check up. All the numbers from my blood draw are looking real good. White blood cells are up, red blood cells are up, and platelets are stable. No signs of graft versus host disease. Discussed isolation and returning to work. Still on track for October of this year. Feeling great, better than I have felt for the last few years leading up to my bone marrow transplant. A huge thanks to the entire team at Dana Farber!”

And here is his wife’s message.

“My husband and I are very blessed in so many ways. We feel that are lives are getting back to normal. He is getting his health back and that’s the most important thing in our lives right now. We are so grateful to his donor and also to the staff at Dana Farber and Brigham Women’s Hospital, especially Dr. Antin. We thought we wouldn’t have to go back until July but that’s not the case. We will have to go back monthly through October and if everything is good at that point, probably every three months. Thanks to all our family and friends that have been following his journey these last few months. God bless…”

I hope there is never a day that passes that we are not thankful for what we have. Our health is everything and our trust in our creator is unwavering. Please continue to look for the good in life and the beauty that surrounds us. And never, ever, quit.

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Never, Ever, Quit, No Matter What

The following is from a good friend from high school and from the heart, and I am proud to repost it. Fighting any disease is a hard task, but when your body is invaded by cancer and then bombarded with chemicals, the fight can sometimes can be harder than one can handle. This friend is one tough individual and one I wholeheartedly support and encourage. Please join with me in reposting this message because we do not know when we, or a friend or loved one, will be facing the same challenge.

“With a broken heart and tears in my eyes… I can honestly say this is by far the most difficult time ever. I know what cancer and the treatment can do to a body and mind.. I’ve seen this transformation. I sometimes wonder if the treatment is worth it in the long haul. It seems to do more harm than good to do. Nothing is more painful than watching someone at the end of his life because of cancer. You’re trying to laugh and to stay positive, but after the chemo and radiation you know the person is physically changing and suffer with this sadness. I know that many of you do not give two hoots about this message because the cancer has not touched you. You don’t know what it’s like to have fought the fight or to have to have a loved one who has to fight against cancer. To all the men and women I know, I ask a small favor and only some of you will do it. If you know someone who has suffered in the fight against cancer, or still struggling.. Add this to your status for one hour as a sign of support, respect and honor. Copy and paste to support those affected by cancer. From your phone or tablet, hold your finger on the message to copy and paste on your page.
Thank you..”

Kindness, compassion, and love have no limits. Each and every day we have a chance to express this to others. It can and will make a difference in someone’s life. And please, never, ever, quit.

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Cancer Sucks

A few months ago I posted a blog that included news of a friend’s 3-month cancer check-up after receiving a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. He was thrilled about the prognosis and his words were laced with excitement, an excitement I know many of us can understand. It’s been a hard fight for him and he’s met his adversary with total patience and courage and exemplifies what battling cancer is all about. Never, Ever, Quit.

The following is an update on his progress as he continues to his journey to become cancer free:

March 6th. “Today marks the 5 month anniversary of receiving my new bone marrow. Sometimes I feel that my progress is slow, but when I look back and see where I have come in five months my progress is astounding. Still in isolation, but hoping that at the 6 month point they will start loosening that. All in all I am forever thankful in getting a second chance at life.

March 30th. “Went to Boston this morning for my monthly check up. Doctor says I am doing great. All my blood counts are good and we discussed my bone marrow results. No blasts in my marrow, which means there is no cancer detected. Hoping this holds true going forward. Was hoping for a reprieve on the isolation. No such luck. Pretty much was told to plan on being isolated for another 6 months…..”

A post from his wife: “I would also like to add that my husband has received his results on his last bone marrow aspiration. Even though we haven’t discussed the results with the doctor, the results show no blasts and there is a comment stating that shows no leukemia either. This is all great news. I know it’s still too early to tell if he is cured, it certainly gives us hope.”

Never, Ever, Quit.

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A Teenager’s Poem

The following poem was written by a teenager with cancer who had only six months to live. Her dying wish was to tell everyone to live their lives to the fullest.

 SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You’d better slow down.

Don’t walk so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

 

Do you run through each day on the fly?

When you ask how are you? Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next

hundred chores running through your head?

You’d better slow down.

Don’t walk so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

 

Ever told your child, “We’ll do it tomorrow?”

And in your haste, never see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die?

Cause you never had time to call and say “Hi?”

You’d better slow down.

Don’t walk so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

 

When you run so fast to get somewhere,

you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,

it is like an unopened gift…Thrown away.

Life is not a race.

Do take it slower.

Hear the music.

Before the song is over.

Can we do as this courageous young lady asks and live our lives to the fullest? Make time for those you love while you can. Enjoy the fragrance of a rose and the ocean air on a crisp morning, and savor the sweetness of a ripe peach and the touch of grass beneath your feet. Reunite with an old friend and never forget to tell someone that you love them.

Please take the time to show love and kindness to someone special in your life. And if you know someone with cancer and/or experiencing chemotherapy, someone who is a cancer survivor, or a veteran, please show them the same love and kindness. Call them and tell them now. It can literally make their day; and yours.

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