Skin Cancers

thermalben's picture
thermalben started the topic in Monday, 19 Nov 2018 at 10:14am

Couple of weeks back I went for my annual checkup - which I'd missed the last one - and got a little area on my temple checked out that'd been bugging me for a while.

I can't recall the specifics, but am sure a doctor 'froze' off a spot here some time ago, but it simply hasn't healed since - so there's been a perennial scab ever since. And it's been a little stingy too, especially when the scab comes off after a surf.

After some tests on the biopsy (which took a few days), it turns out it was Squamous Cell Carcinoma (also known as Bowen's Disease) - one of the more common skin cancers, which is fortunately confined to the outer layer of skin. So as long as I get it cut out soon I'll be fine. But if left for too long there is a chance it'll spread.

Melanoma is a real risk for surfers. And, things can escalate pretty quickly too, if you're not monitoring things - more than two thousand people die from skin cancer each year in Australia.

As it turns out, this week is National Skin Cancer Action Week 2018. So please go and book in for a check up - there's plenty of skin cancer clinics around the country and many of them bulk bill (so, it doesn't cost you anything).

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Friday, 6 Nov 2020 at 7:40pm

Thanks Keano, good to hear.

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Nick Bone Saturday, 7 Nov 2020 at 8:00pm

Alas, it seems that there be a patch forming right on the top the old noggin on this strappin young lad (2 out of 3 of those adjectives are false, guess which). Being copping of bit UV as of late in the defenceless zone and was wondering if there is any alternative to sunscreen/imagine? I imagine both are unkind to the natural surrounds and perhaps could accelerate the wiseness process even faster!?

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MidWestMonger Saturday, 7 Nov 2020 at 8:30pm

Hi Nick, I reckon the hooded rashie might be the go. Easy to flick off on the paddle out / before a floggin, Never gets lost. Easy to flick back on for extended periods of waiting out at sea in the hot sun. I use one in summer and a proper wetsuit hood in winter. Only really sunblock the face now days and havent got scorched. Look like a kook but i dont have to look at me, thats someone elses problem.

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Sheepdog Saturday, 7 Nov 2020 at 10:43pm

My skin got that bad I had to move away from the east coast to a sw facing coast. Those relentless east coast mornings with both the sun AND reflected sun off the water basically cooked my face. And my back got toasted too hanging on the beach. Melanoma, 3 squamous cell cancers, and more basal cell cancers than I can count. I'm basically a ball of scar tissue bahahahaha.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben Sunday, 22 Nov 2020 at 6:46am

Good news - they cut out the skin cancer and it hasn't spread. Was a decent chunk of skin too (off my ear), 'bout the size of a five cent coin. Amazingly, just a week and a half after having it out - including fourteen stitches - you'd never know it happened, it's healed up really well. Full props to the doc, he did a great job.

I reckon I'm gonna book in every six months for a check-up from now on. Really can't be too safe these days.

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Fliplid Sunday, 22 Nov 2020 at 7:30am

Good idea about the regular checkups. From my experience once I had one bcc there were more to follow over the years.

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JQ Monday, 14 Dec 2020 at 5:57pm

Yep, everyone should get a checkup, even if you're under 30. It's not expensive and it can give you a little peace of mind. I had a few spots I was suss on, fortunately nothing to worry about, but really good to know. Keep an eye on your moles and watch for changes people.

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Craig Tuesday, 14 Sep 2021 at 5:17pm

Just a reminder about skin checks etc. I'm only 36 but had a BCC surgically removed from my shoulder a couple of months ago, and now this one on the side of my nose today, needed plastic surgery to keep me looking neat and proper.

I focus's picture
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I focus Tuesday, 14 Sep 2021 at 5:51pm

Hope it goes well Craig, I am currently in the brace position waiting on a biopsy result warned it looks like a melanoma.

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Craig Tuesday, 14 Sep 2021 at 6:00pm

Oh shit, fingers crossed it's not I focus. And if it is, caught early eh?

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san Guine Wednesday, 15 Sep 2021 at 10:36am

Wow Craig,
I'm now going to get a check-up, were you always a sun screen user?

Best wishes I focus...

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Craig Wednesday, 15 Sep 2021 at 10:44am

Yep, always! Had another taken out of my shoulder a few months ago, bad scar. I always wear a wetsuit as well, so must have been from when I was younger or just those rare times I bathe in the sun. Scary.

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Westofthelake Wednesday, 15 Sep 2021 at 11:06am

Timely reminder fellas. All the best.

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Bnkref Wednesday, 15 Sep 2021 at 1:18pm

No good Craig! Glad to hear it got picked up.

Did you notice something suss with the one on your nose? Or was it picked up when you had a check up?

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Craig Wednesday, 15 Sep 2021 at 1:22pm

Yeah noticed little white patch on the nose. And the one on shoulder was a light red smudge but when in sunlight got angry.

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Bnkref Wednesday, 15 Sep 2021 at 2:31pm

Hope all good now and that you're back in the water soon.

Lucky you picked them up when you did. Sounds like time is critical.

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I focus Thursday, 16 Sep 2021 at 2:32pm
Craig wrote:

Oh shit, fingers crossed it's not I focus. And if it is, caught early eh?

Thanks everyone.

Crossing the fingers seems to work Craig.

Biopsy back today not a melanoma but a type of squamous cell carcinoma not immediately life threating, my skin doctor was surprised and relived I was resigned for the worst also surprised.

Now plenty of time to safely remove.

Hoping your surgery goes well Craig and ends up maintaining that "good looking rooster " face of yours.

Everyone else get the skin checked.

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Craig Thursday, 16 Sep 2021 at 2:36pm

Great news I Focus! You must be relieved!

And thanks, still a bit sore so will take a while to recover but hopefully heals up nicely.

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zenagain Thursday, 16 Sep 2021 at 2:59pm

Good news IF, I had the same last year (SCC). At first my dermatologist cut it out of the tip of my nose resulting in three stitches, then after a few days the stitches fell out. That was followed up with dry ice spray every two weeks and some special cream applied every second day.

With the exception of a small scar you wouldn't even know I had it. Also, had something similar this year on my scalp which was treated the same minus the stitches. Can't remember what it was called but luckily turned out benign.

Edit- all up the process for my SCC took a month and my scalp about two weeks.

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batfink Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 9:59am

Good luck in recovery Craig and for your treatment IF.

I’ve had so much sun over the years. My arms are patchy now, used to go deep brown as a kid. The skin sort of runs out of melanin in patches so it can almost look freckly. My old man was the same, I used to think he had lots of freckles on his arms but it was just patchy melanin distribution. He was outside for work a lot more than me though.

Luckily I’ve got a strong head of hair, but I’ll have to stop cutting it so short for summer. Thick hair is good scalp protection.

Craig, you may have to keep the beard for sun protection. Sounds like you have the more susceptible skin type.

Have been getting 12 monthly checks for about 5 years now. Occasionally get a few spots ice sprayed but so far been lucky. Definitely recommend everyone do it.

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etarip Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 10:05am

Good luck on the recoveries team. Fully support the calls to cover up wherever possible and get check-ups annually.
I’m a light skinned, fair haired ranga. Spent heaps of time in the sun with work and play. Been diligent with sunscreen, shirts and hats.

I get regular check ups and had a BCC cut out last year, on my chest. From what the dermotologist said, the cancers don’t just appear in exposed sites - so get checked all over.

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san Guine Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 11:18am

Was going out for a surf the other day and lathering on sunscreen (despite being middle of winter), two Aboriginal blokes at the lookout called out, laughing,
"What you putting on that white fella stuff for?"

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arcadia Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 12:35pm

Zen, did you get your SCC diagnosed and removed in Aus or Japan?
I wanted an angry looking mole checked. The Japanese dermatologist assured me that as I was caucasian, I didn't have to worry about skin cancer...... I got it removed on my next trip back to Aus.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 12:40pm

Got it done here mate. Done by one of my students mum actually- she's a dermatologist and her husband an orthopedic surgeon.

Handy people to know.

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zenagain Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 12:43pm

Ps- Me too BF, I go chocolate brown in the sun but my forearms have these patchy spots which I guess is now the result of uneven melanin distribution.

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arcadia Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 1:31pm

Cheers Zen. Good to know that not all dermatologists here are incompetent.

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Craig Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 2:03pm

Thanks guys, yeah interesting that they can pop up where there hasn't been that much exposure. Good to know.

upnorth's picture
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upnorth Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 6:34pm

Yeah get anything even slightly suspicious checked out, and don't delay. These things can pop up in unlikely places. Had a melanoma cut out from the inside of my right thigh, not a spot that has had any sun damage. Huge scar and a concave shape to my leg but have exceeded the 5 years the doc gave me. Pasty northern European skin ain't made for Australia's climate so be vigilant.

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vladalotovodka Saturday, 18 Sep 2021 at 9:18pm

Vlad is burn spot on cheek with solder iron. Save much rouble.

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Hutchy 19 Sunday, 19 Sep 2021 at 10:16am

Very funny Vlad ( but maybe true and not so funny ) .

Are you Putin ? How many Vlads could there be in Russia ?

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gragagan Sunday, 19 Sep 2021 at 10:17am

Winch broken?

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vladalotovodka Monday, 20 Sep 2021 at 9:09pm
Hutchy 19 wrote:

Very funny Vlad ( but maybe true and not so funny ) .

Are you Putin ? How many Vlads could there be in Russia ?

Joke not. Vlad burn lump is of arm years many past size of bean. Big white scar lump not.

Is now try fix face lumps and brown spot. Rub off spot is with rock of volcano. Burn two lump is with hot iron. Much proud. Silly freeze off stuff is was much messy.

Putin pay big for facelift. Not Vlad. Go to shed do yourself it.

udo's picture
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udo Thursday, 23 Sep 2021 at 4:45pm
Craig wrote:

Thanks guys, yeah interesting that they can pop up where there hasn't been that much exposure. Good to know.

Off with the Beard Craig and Shave your Head get your Doc to have a good look over your Face and Noggin..

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nickca Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021 at 9:27pm

Have heard of spots underfoot/ between toes, get a head to toe from a clinic.Had a few cut off that were serious but slow growers ie had some potential. Set the example

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Roadkill Friday, 8 Oct 2021 at 4:16pm
nickca wrote:

Have heard of spots underfoot/ between toes, get a head to toe from a clinic.Had a few cut off that were serious but slow growers ie had some potential. Set the example

Underfoot and between toes is pretty common. Scalp is another nasty spot as most don't see them and you really need a specialist to look.

I go to a dermatologist every 6 months and get checked because I take immunosuppressant medication and are prone to skin cancers developing.

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groundswell Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 11:47am

Had a suss mole cut out of my foot the other day and have five stitches..surfs good again today what happens if you surf with stitches in your foot? will surfing split them?

zenagain's picture
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zenagain Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 12:01pm

Wear a bootie if you've got one I reckon. You should be ok.

Disclaimer: or maybe not.

udo's picture
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udo Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 12:03pm

Sure will and they wont re stitch it ..then you be out of water for a long time
likely that they cut in fairly deep if it was a bit suss.

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groundswell Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 12:04pm

ok thanks fellas.

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Craig Sunday, 10 Oct 2021 at 2:06pm

Yeah let them heal, 10 days minimum. They'll split for sure, get infected and stop your recovery while looking ugly.