02/07

You may be wondering, "What do I care about basal cell carcina-bob-whatever. What is that anyway?"

"Basal cell cancer is the most common skin cancer. It can be destructive and disfiguring. Risk is increased for individuals with a family history of the disease and a high cumulative exposure to UV light via sunlight or, in the past, carcinogenic chemicals especially arsenic. Treatment is with surgery, topical chemotherapy, x-ray, cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy or photoshop. It is rarely life-threatening but if left untreated can be disfiguring, cause bleeding and produce local destruction (eg., eye, ear, nose, lip).It is much more common in fair skinned individuals with a family history of basal cell cancer and increases in incidence closer to the equator or at higher altitude. There are approximately 800,000 new cases yearly in the United States alone." source: Skin Cancer Foundation

Watch the video - named SunSpots (because the only other choice was SkinCancer) - and find out how having skin cancer can really fucking rock!, or just read my story, which is almost as good as the video.

The video: Basal Cell Carcinoma

The story:

I had nothing but a patch of dry skin on my neck, just below my left ear, about the size of the word "of" in this sentence. It was mildly itchy and scaly, but almost imperceptible to the eye. I thought I'd cut myself shaving and the small wound was stubborn to heal. Eventually I went to my primary care physician to get a referral to dermatology for another issue, one that involved bruising and swelling of the nose that was slow to heal after nasal airway surgery. It was nothing serious, but I was curious about the bruising of my nose, and why it wasn't going away as fast as I thought it would. My doctor told me I didn't need to see a dermatologist for this, that instead, I needed to return to the doctor who did the surgery and talk to him about the bruising of my nose. However, I was also going to discuss the small patch of dry skin on my neck with the dermatologist as well, and my doctor assured me, "That's nothing. They won't find anything."

I said, "I need that referral to derm."
He looked at me, hesitated just long enough to wonder, "Should I pick a fight with this guy over a derm referral?", thought better of it, and said, "Ok."

They biopsied the sample, and sure enough, skin cancer.
Oh, and by the way, I went to see the doctor who performed the surgery on my nose to ask him about the mild bruising and swelling that still exists, and wouldn't you know it, he said, "You need to see a dermatologist about that."

I fired my primary care physician that day.

_____

The video is about 3 minutes long. It's file size is 33mb, so it'll take about 2 minutes to download on high speed. It's dimensions are 450 pixels. The video shows the skin cancer after treatment with a battery-acid (like) cream called Aldara. It looks quite bad in the video, but strangely, the video will make you feel good.
The appearance of the sore on my neck in the video is what this form of treatment will produce. So the sore is more a byproduct of the treatment, and not the cancer itself. I mention this only for those who watch this and are concerned. No worries.

"That's nothing. They won't find anything."