Squamous cell cancer

Posted by Annie @mlenney167, May 16 12:30pm

I just got biopsy results that a spot on my face is squamous cell cancer. They told me it’s in situ and did not grade it as any stage of cancer.
They recommend MOHS surgery and plastics – a plastic surgeon to close it to minimize scarring since it’s on my face – the lower right cheek. At this point I can’t get an appointment until June 4.

I’m terrified having lost someone to melanoma last year! They assure me it’s testable but I’m worried! Should I seek another opinion – is this the best course of action – can I afford to wait that long, and Do I lose more time by going somewhere else? Can they use the biopsy results or will they need the tissue, probably causing a delay.

Any advice?

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I meant treatable – not testable.

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My husband had MOHs on his nose and a friend is undergoing it on her hand. It allows the surgeon to remove small areas until all the affected tissue is gone, testing as he goes so as not to remove more than is necessary. That is how I understand it. The doctor removes a bit, tests, then removes some more, tests…….etc., until all the cancer is gone.

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I know what you are going through. Be not afraid. Squamous is a horse of a different color from melanoma and is better-behaved. It is slower-growing and does not migrate into the bloodstream. My husband died of melanoma 8 years ago. Now I am being treated for squamous -cell bumps on my ankles and shins. I had Moh’s surgery on two of the bumps in February after biopsies identified them as squamous-cell. My surgeon put stitches in one and left the other to heal without stitches because of its location right over my shin bone. Since my extremities heal slowly, it took about 40 days for the scabs to finally fall off. I have other bumps on my legs. Rather than biopsy all of them, my dermatologist prescribed an ointment called flourouracil which amounts to do-it-yourself chemo treatment. I applied it twice a day for about 5 weeks and watched the bumps get angry, flare up, and scab. Now I am applying a steroid ointment to calm them down. They are finally looking and feeling much better. See my doctor again in a couple of weeks.

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@jnb

I know what you are going through. Be not afraid. Squamous is a horse of a different color from melanoma and is better-behaved. It is slower-growing and does not migrate into the bloodstream. My husband died of melanoma 8 years ago. Now I am being treated for squamous -cell bumps on my ankles and shins. I had Moh’s surgery on two of the bumps in February after biopsies identified them as squamous-cell. My surgeon put stitches in one and left the other to heal without stitches because of its location right over my shin bone. Since my extremities heal slowly, it took about 40 days for the scabs to finally fall off. I have other bumps on my legs. Rather than biopsy all of them, my dermatologist prescribed an ointment called flourouracil which amounts to do-it-yourself chemo treatment. I applied it twice a day for about 5 weeks and watched the bumps get angry, flare up, and scab. Now I am applying a steroid ointment to calm them down. They are finally looking and feeling much better. See my doctor again in a couple of weeks.

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Slow growing? Not in my case. A few weeks ago I had a red raised area about the size of a dime pop up on my left forearm. There was no itching, burning or aching so I did not think it was a bug bite. I went to my Dermatologist who said cancer does not come up that fast and told me to give it 30 days and see what it does. In two weeks it was going through changes–some areas in the red became light colored. I went back to the dermatologist and he biopsied it–squamous. I'll have Mohs surgery this Thursday. A year and a half ago there were two places on my left calf that he said he did not think they were cancer. A few months went by and he finally biopsied them–squamous. Mohs surgery that took a year to heal–15 stitches. Years ago I had squamous on both legs–one requiring plastic surgery. I do have an autoimmune condition, lichen planus which exhibits itself with various types of skin eruptions, itching and burning. I think he was willing to brush these situations off as LP. I think I now know my body better than he does. I'm so tired of these surgeries and wonder why so many episodes so close together.

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@fdixon63

Slow growing? Not in my case. A few weeks ago I had a red raised area about the size of a dime pop up on my left forearm. There was no itching, burning or aching so I did not think it was a bug bite. I went to my Dermatologist who said cancer does not come up that fast and told me to give it 30 days and see what it does. In two weeks it was going through changes–some areas in the red became light colored. I went back to the dermatologist and he biopsied it–squamous. I'll have Mohs surgery this Thursday. A year and a half ago there were two places on my left calf that he said he did not think they were cancer. A few months went by and he finally biopsied them–squamous. Mohs surgery that took a year to heal–15 stitches. Years ago I had squamous on both legs–one requiring plastic surgery. I do have an autoimmune condition, lichen planus which exhibits itself with various types of skin eruptions, itching and burning. I think he was willing to brush these situations off as LP. I think I now know my body better than he does. I'm so tired of these surgeries and wonder why so many episodes so close together.

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I hate to say it but I would’ve found a new doctor- I’d be angry if asked to wait to see what happens! But I’m still angry after losing the love of my life – there was no sense of urgency. We lost so much time! I’m now paranoid about any form of skin cancer.

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@jnb

I know what you are going through. Be not afraid. Squamous is a horse of a different color from melanoma and is better-behaved. It is slower-growing and does not migrate into the bloodstream. My husband died of melanoma 8 years ago. Now I am being treated for squamous -cell bumps on my ankles and shins. I had Moh’s surgery on two of the bumps in February after biopsies identified them as squamous-cell. My surgeon put stitches in one and left the other to heal without stitches because of its location right over my shin bone. Since my extremities heal slowly, it took about 40 days for the scabs to finally fall off. I have other bumps on my legs. Rather than biopsy all of them, my dermatologist prescribed an ointment called flourouracil which amounts to do-it-yourself chemo treatment. I applied it twice a day for about 5 weeks and watched the bumps get angry, flare up, and scab. Now I am applying a steroid ointment to calm them down. They are finally looking and feeling much better. See my doctor again in a couple of weeks.

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Thanks for the reply and information on the ointments. I’m going to ask about it.

And best of luck to you. I hope the treatments are successful with minimal scarring (a fear I have) and no further occurances.

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@mlenney167

I hate to say it but I would’ve found a new doctor- I’d be angry if asked to wait to see what happens! But I’m still angry after losing the love of my life – there was no sense of urgency. We lost so much time! I’m now paranoid about any form of skin cancer.

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I actually did change dermatologist when he let two places become so advanced that the scars are very noticeable. Interesting that the new one was just doing biopsies all over the place. Just seemed odd. To me they did not look like much at all. Grrr. What to do. Seems like this is an easy way for this specialty to make easy income. I hope to feel that way but… Maybe I'll try another one before long.

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I've often wondered about that same thing – are we merely numbers, not patients, that are used to meet some billable quotas!!!
Our healthcare system has so many issues. Finding a good, kind and compassionate doctor can be a challenge.

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@fdixon63

Slow growing? Not in my case. A few weeks ago I had a red raised area about the size of a dime pop up on my left forearm. There was no itching, burning or aching so I did not think it was a bug bite. I went to my Dermatologist who said cancer does not come up that fast and told me to give it 30 days and see what it does. In two weeks it was going through changes–some areas in the red became light colored. I went back to the dermatologist and he biopsied it–squamous. I'll have Mohs surgery this Thursday. A year and a half ago there were two places on my left calf that he said he did not think they were cancer. A few months went by and he finally biopsied them–squamous. Mohs surgery that took a year to heal–15 stitches. Years ago I had squamous on both legs–one requiring plastic surgery. I do have an autoimmune condition, lichen planus which exhibits itself with various types of skin eruptions, itching and burning. I think he was willing to brush these situations off as LP. I think I now know my body better than he does. I'm so tired of these surgeries and wonder why so many episodes so close together.

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my friend has been struggling along with the same. Her doctor told her this:
https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20210412/widely-used-bp-meds-may-raise-skin-cancer-risk

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@donnacarp

Thanks for your reply. Always interesting to learn more about anything related to an issue we have. However, this does not apply in my case. I do not have hypertension nor take medication for HBP. My surgery is this afternoon with a dermatology Mohs surgeon I've never met. I'll ask him his opinion on a relationship between squamous and lichen planus.

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@fdixon63

Slow growing? Not in my case. A few weeks ago I had a red raised area about the size of a dime pop up on my left forearm. There was no itching, burning or aching so I did not think it was a bug bite. I went to my Dermatologist who said cancer does not come up that fast and told me to give it 30 days and see what it does. In two weeks it was going through changes–some areas in the red became light colored. I went back to the dermatologist and he biopsied it–squamous. I'll have Mohs surgery this Thursday. A year and a half ago there were two places on my left calf that he said he did not think they were cancer. A few months went by and he finally biopsied them–squamous. Mohs surgery that took a year to heal–15 stitches. Years ago I had squamous on both legs–one requiring plastic surgery. I do have an autoimmune condition, lichen planus which exhibits itself with various types of skin eruptions, itching and burning. I think he was willing to brush these situations off as LP. I think I now know my body better than he does. I'm so tired of these surgeries and wonder why so many episodes so close together.

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Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way. And thanks for sharing your experience I will be on the watch for more flare-ups.

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@jnb

Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way. And thanks for sharing your experience I will be on the watch for more flare-ups.

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I went to Mohs surgeon yesterday to have squamous removed from my left forearm. The first thing he said is we're not doing Mohs today. Because of the location of where the squamous is he said insurance would not, most likely, pay for it. He took his time in explaining the options for removal–pro's and cons. He recommended what is called an incisional open wound method.
They will send the tissue to the pathologist and should hear back in about a week. In the unlikely scenario that he did not get it all then insurance will allow him to do Mohs–beginning where he left off. The cleaning and bandage changes are to be done daily and it is kept covered for 5-6 weeks. I was not prepared for this but the surgeon travels from practice to practice and would not be back at this location until the end of June so needed to make a decision then and there. Hope I made the right decision. I did wonder this: If he is qualified to look at tissue to see if he "got it all" using Mohs why could he not look at what he just removed to determine the same?
Also, I asked him if there is any connection to LP and Squamous. He said yes, but only where there is LP present, there is a higher instance of developing Squamous. He is the only dermatologist who had even seemed knowledgeable about this subject. We live, we learn. Thanks for the prayers.

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