Basal Cell Carcinoma on Leg

Posted by beatrixflower @beatrixflower, Aug 3, 2020

Hello, I was just diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my leg. I did not know I had it until I had ongoing pain in my calf that began during covid. When I was seen by the doctor after re-opening, I told her I was worried about a blood clot but she ruled that out. She asked about a lesion on my leg that I had been told by a dermatologist 15 years ago in my 30’s that it was “absolutely nothing and didn’t need to be followed”. She sent me for a biopsy that came back as basal cell carcinoma. The dermatologist who did the biopsy said that maybe years ago it was “nothing” but it had recently changed. My main worry is that the pain in my calf is a sign that it has spread to the lymph nodes. Is there any other reason why basal cell carcinoma would cause pain if it was not being caused by spread to lymph nodes? Following the biopsy, I feel a substantial relief in the pain which makes me think it was pressing on something.

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@jnb

Thanks for sharing your experience with this drug.
The label says “Do not apply to good skin.”
It’s helpful to know that you saw a response beyond the area you originally treated. The label and the inserted drug facts that came with the tube do not mention that.
This drug is not for the weak. It takes fortitude to apply a substance that is going to make you worse before you get better!

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@jnb The drug goes after an area that needs help, even when it is not visible to our naked eye. That is what had freaked me out the first time I used it! My dermatologst's PA seemed amused by my anxiety, I was not. It was on my face and I had to really do a bit of coverup to go to work!

You could ask your pharmacist for a generic, if one is available. I know the last tube I got was over $100 out of my pocket.

Hope to hear from you, giving me good news in the not too distant future. You reminded me I need to get my tube out and treat some areas. The PA I see at my current dermatologist says she I should not use any topical chemo while I am on systemic chemo for cancer, but my oncologist says, "It's fine to use." Think I will go with his opinion.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@beatrixflower I'm glad you sought out a diagnosis on this. I have had everything from pre-cancer to melanoma, and you're smart to be checking for changes in sores or lesions. You know your skin the best! What was done for the basal cell carcinoma on your leg? I would ask your dermatologist their recommendation, then follow that. While basal cell rarely metasticize they do often grow slowly in place. And I am sure your medical team has advised you to watch your skin carefully, perhaps with a full-body check twice a year.
Here is a link from Mayo Clinic about types of skin cancer https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20377605
Ginger

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@gingerw I was recently diagnosed with squamous cell, basal cell, and two precancers. You noted that you have had multiple skin cancer and precancer diagnoses. How have you changed your lifestyle as a result? I have always been a sunscreen fanatic, very frequently applying chemical sunscreen. I have now moved to mineral sunscreen since reading more about skin cancer after my excisions. This recent experience has me a bit fearful of the sun now, which I used to enjoy as an active person, not as a sun worshipper (I never lay out because I don’t get tan anyway). I bought lots of UPF 50+ shirts and am going to Disney with the grandkids in a few weeks and I am wondering if short sleeves with sunscreen would be an okay alternative. My skin cancers are on my hand neck and my precancers are in my nose and hand. I have two other suspicious areas on my forearms. Any advice is welcomed.

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@cmcp

@gingerw I was recently diagnosed with squamous cell, basal cell, and two precancers. You noted that you have had multiple skin cancer and precancer diagnoses. How have you changed your lifestyle as a result? I have always been a sunscreen fanatic, very frequently applying chemical sunscreen. I have now moved to mineral sunscreen since reading more about skin cancer after my excisions. This recent experience has me a bit fearful of the sun now, which I used to enjoy as an active person, not as a sun worshipper (I never lay out because I don’t get tan anyway). I bought lots of UPF 50+ shirts and am going to Disney with the grandkids in a few weeks and I am wondering if short sleeves with sunscreen would be an okay alternative. My skin cancers are on my hand neck and my precancers are in my nose and hand. I have two other suspicious areas on my forearms. Any advice is welcomed.

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@cmcp First, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I'm glad to see you have been reading the discussions here and found useful information. Back in younger years, you and I were probably part of the same generation who worshipped the sun. Like you, I didn't lay out, but I did a lot of outdoor activities, with no thought to sunscreen.

After dealing with the various skin cancer issues, I now apply a sunscreen everyday, regardless of the weather. Careful to wash my face and hands thoroughly every night before bed. I use a hat to provide as much shade as possible, too. Long sleeves. Staying out of the sun's strongest hours, remembering that even if it is foggy/overcast there is still a UV risk. Don't forget your hands for sunscreen, too. I often wear lightweight white cotton gloves. You will need to make that decision about long sleeves or short sleeves with sunscreen!

My melanoma was on right forearm. Squamous on forehead and left eyebrow. Nodular basal cell near right collarbone. Precancers various places on face/ears/arms.

Hope this helps? Enjoy your trip to Disney – Florida or California?
Ginger

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@gingerw

@cmcp First, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I'm glad to see you have been reading the discussions here and found useful information. Back in younger years, you and I were probably part of the same generation who worshipped the sun. Like you, I didn't lay out, but I did a lot of outdoor activities, with no thought to sunscreen.

After dealing with the various skin cancer issues, I now apply a sunscreen everyday, regardless of the weather. Careful to wash my face and hands thoroughly every night before bed. I use a hat to provide as much shade as possible, too. Long sleeves. Staying out of the sun's strongest hours, remembering that even if it is foggy/overcast there is still a UV risk. Don't forget your hands for sunscreen, too. I often wear lightweight white cotton gloves. You will need to make that decision about long sleeves or short sleeves with sunscreen!

My melanoma was on right forearm. Squamous on forehead and left eyebrow. Nodular basal cell near right collarbone. Precancers various places on face/ears/arms.

Hope this helps? Enjoy your trip to Disney – Florida or California?
Ginger

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Thank you for replying, Ginger. We are going to Florida! It is a dream of mine to go with the kids and grandkids – I’m so excited. These diagnoses kicked me in the gut a bit, finding out pretty much right before we go but I know I’ll still have fun. Just trying to balance comfort with safety in the heat and humidity there. You say careful to wash your hands and face at night – can you expound upon that, please? Is it due to chemical sunscreen concerns or something else?

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@cmcp

Thank you for replying, Ginger. We are going to Florida! It is a dream of mine to go with the kids and grandkids – I’m so excited. These diagnoses kicked me in the gut a bit, finding out pretty much right before we go but I know I’ll still have fun. Just trying to balance comfort with safety in the heat and humidity there. You say careful to wash your hands and face at night – can you expound upon that, please? Is it due to chemical sunscreen concerns or something else?

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@cmcp What a nice dream to have, and to get to see it happen, you sound pretty "over the moon" about it. Being smart and sensible as we live each day with regards to sun exposure, well, it takes a bit of thinking and work, and after a while it seems we get used to it. For myself, a bit of discomfort is worth the rewards of getting to do something I have been looking forward to!

My skin is pretty sensitive, being a redhead, and there are many lotions/creams that clash with me. For decades I have only used liquid castile soap as a facial cleanser, plus a quality moisturizer containing a sunscreen. At night I might use a lightweight moisturizer, it depends. What has worked for me might not be a solution for others. It's important to give my skin a rest from chemicals. I also do crafts, so I don't want any transference of oil/greasy stuff to them!

You'll have fun! Take pictures, make memories! Enjoy!
Ginger

REPLY
@gingerw

@cmcp What a nice dream to have, and to get to see it happen, you sound pretty "over the moon" about it. Being smart and sensible as we live each day with regards to sun exposure, well, it takes a bit of thinking and work, and after a while it seems we get used to it. For myself, a bit of discomfort is worth the rewards of getting to do something I have been looking forward to!

My skin is pretty sensitive, being a redhead, and there are many lotions/creams that clash with me. For decades I have only used liquid castile soap as a facial cleanser, plus a quality moisturizer containing a sunscreen. At night I might use a lightweight moisturizer, it depends. What has worked for me might not be a solution for others. It's important to give my skin a rest from chemicals. I also do crafts, so I don't want any transference of oil/greasy stuff to them!

You'll have fun! Take pictures, make memories! Enjoy!
Ginger

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Thank you!

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