I was looking at a small sore on the right side of my nose: it’s been over three months and it was still there! I sighed; I had to go back to my dermatologist. Clearly, the two treatments with liquid nitrogen didn’t work. My doctor insisted it was Basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that occurs when basal cells develop a mutation in its DNA. It is the least dangerous form of cancer and rarely metastasizes.
At first, I refused to believe it. It’s true, I had never seen sunscreen in my life until I came to America, and I didn’t start using it until much later. Still, I thought I was too young to have skin cancer! Unfortunately, after spending a few hours online reading and looking at the pictures, I had to admit that my sore did look like Basal carcinoma.
“Mohs surgery would be my preference,” I was told by the doctor when I was back at his office.
Because I waited too long to address the issue, my cancer became too difficult to treat with other procedures and considering the location, nose, Mohs surgery was the most effective. It involved removing the tumor with a very thing layer of tissue around it. That layer was immediately checked under the microscope and if no cancer was present no further steps were required.
On the day of my surgery I was slightly nervous. I chose John Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, MD as I considered it to be one of the best in the country. I didn’t have to wait long and soon was called in. Surprisingly, the whole procedure took very little time. I did have to wait a few anxious minutes before I was told that the tissue around the tumor looked healthy. I was ecstatic! That meant no more cutting!
Because the cancer was on my face, I had to follow with a plastic surgery, which I did soon after. The doctor did a spectacular job of covering the wound and smoothing it out. A few year forward I can hardly notice it! What’s more, I started to use sunscreen all year around: I put it on even when I’m inside! This alone will not prevent skin cancer, but it is definitely a step in a right direction. You can do it too!