Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dermatology For Dummies: In Treatment

If you've been following my blog you know that I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma back in early May. When I last wrote about my encounter with skin cancer, my doctor had done a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and explained I had two treatment options -- cut out the affected area or use a topical treatment to erase the cancerous cells. At that point, I was waiting for the biopsy site to heal so we could make a final decision on a treatment plan.

I went back in early June and the doctor pronounced my lesion a good candidate for a topical cream treatment called Zyclara. So off to the pharmacy I went with hope that one application daily for 30 days would get the job done.

The good news with this treatment is that I could swim, sweat and do everything else I normally could. If it erased the basal cells, it would still leave a small amount of scarring but much less than I would have with surgical removal.

Here's what my lesion looked like when I started the treatment. This is typical basal cell carcinoma -- uneven shape, bumpy, inconsistent coloring, etc. If you ever see something like this on YOUR skin, get to a doctor ASAP.

This is the same spot after 30 days of treatment with Zyclara. The blistering and scabbing is normal and means the medicine is working. It itched a little but nothing I couldn't handle. At this stage, my doctor inspected the area and couldn't see any signs of the basal cells, so we stopped the treatment to give the scab time to heal and fall off.

This is what the area looked like when I had my last follow up with the doctor this past Friday. The pinkness will fade with time but the important part? NO MORE BASAL CELLS!

I'm far from done in the skin care department, because now that I've had a basal cell carcinoma I'll always be at risk for another. Since my diagnosis, sunscreen is a part of my daily routine, I wear hats and long sleeves to protect my skin if I'll be out in the sun for a while and I don't put the top on my convertible down much these days. I'll be back at the doctor in November for a six month upper body check and every April for the rest of my life I'll have a full body screen. If anything else does pop up, we'll know exactly how to handle it.

With any luck, I'll be getting those screenings for a very long time.


  1. Very proud of you. I know you love your convertible, but I love you more BFF! :-)

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