BCC Skin Cancer

I will admit that in my younger days I have sat out all day in the sunshine and not even had any sun cream with me let alone put any on! I can think of at least three occasions when I have had sun stroke. And to top that off I went through a period of about 18 months where I would use sun beds once or twice a week too. As I recall all of these times I sit and shake my head. You see just two months ago I had a small mark on my back removed and it turned out to be BCC skin cancer (Basal Cell Carcinoma).

Before we moved to Scotland I had been to see my GP to get a mole on my back checked out because it was itching and was raised. The GP had no concerns over the mole but I thought whilst I was there I would get them to check out a dry bit of skin on my shoulder blade. Without hesitation the GP told me that this was BCC skin cancer.

I wasn’t expecting that!

Basal Cell Carcinoma

So what is this skin cancer that I had never heard of? “BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin).” – Quote taken from Skin Cancer Foundation website. The Doctor had told me not to worry it could be removed and is not life threatening but I would be susceptible to more in the future! Great….

Skip forward, passed our moving to Scotland and to a visit with my new GP. She confirmed that it was indeed a form of skin cancer and made a referral to my local hospital.

The minor operation itself lasted about 45 minutes. I was awake and had had a local anesthetic and couldn’t feel a thing but feeling like a right plonker that maybe “if only.” So many “if only’s.”

I ended up with three internal and nine external stitches. Twelve stitches for that tiny mark on my back!

I did actually take the opportunity to have a look at the piece of my back that had been removed. Very interesting to see all the different layers and how deep this thing had actually gone!

The next day I had some help removing my bandage. “Oh bloody hell, that’s huge” came the words from the Dude. As I turn my back to the mirror and look over my shoulder I say similar words! We actually measured it, it’s two inches long, diagonally across my shoulder blade. Wow.

BCC Skin Cancer, Scar, Skin Cancer, Scotland Travel Guide

Sorry the image isn’t that great it was taken on my phone by the Dude so I could see it properly but you get the idea.

A week later it looks like this: BCC Skin Cancer, Scotland Travel Guide

The photo’s really don’t do it any justice but they shouldn’t have to.

I love the sun and how it makes us feel but is it really worth this?

So how can you prevent or lessen the risks of BCC or any other, more harmful, skin cancer?

  • Use SPF 15 or higher every day. The suns rays can still do damage in winter! Apply 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Never use UV tanning beds
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat
  • Cover up with clothing
  • Seek shade 11am – 3pm
  • Check your skin for changes in moles or marks

You can even buy clothing impregnated with SPF for extra protection – for both children and adults. Well worth looking into.

My BCC skin cancer may have been removed but that is not the end of it. Already, with these last couple of days of glorious sunshine in Scotland, I am super paranoid about being out in the sun. I now tend to wear long sleeved tops and SPF 50 on anything the sun can see, with the accompaniment of my Tilley hat. It’s all about being sensible and I get that. Enjoy the sunshine but please be careful a tan isn’t worth all this (or worse).

Enjoying the sunshine in Venice, BCC Skin Cancer
Enjoying the sunshine in Venice
BCC Skin Cancer, Scotland Travel Blog
Exploring a Palace in Marrakech 40+ degree heat

12 Comments

  1. Dawn-Marie May 13, 2016 at 08:53

    Great post and very good advice Melanie that I should listen to!

    I’m terrible for not putting sunscreen on and very fair in colour. Like you, as a teenager I’ve been burnt to the colour of a lobster, lay on sunbeds so I could try and get that lovely tan that my friends had. It was a must in those days.

    I have lots of moles that I should check more often! I try to cover up when I remember though … and will never have a tan, white I am.

    Thanks for reminding me how important it is. I hope you recover soon and have a lovely weekend.

    Dawn-Marie 🙂

    Reply
  2. Gill May 13, 2016 at 14:23

    Great post and so glad I read this as so much good advice, glad you got the treatment you needed x

    Reply
  3. StressedMum May 13, 2016 at 16:34

    Great post, I have to admit in my younger days sun cream would never come into the equation with me, although I have never been on a sunbed. My Daughter has had it drummed into her that she has to wear it and always carry some around to top up with. So glad you got treatment and a great awareness post x

    Reply
  4. Vicky May 13, 2016 at 18:51

    Great post. We all know the results of not taking care in the sun yet we carry on regardless. It’s very much the thought process of that will never happen to me. Brilliant your writing about it, please keep sharing and talking about it X

    Reply
  5. Leonii Amber May 14, 2016 at 06:57

    Brilliant advice! I was out this week and felt like it wasn’t even warm enough to catch the sun let alone burn but guess what I woke up the next day with bright read shoulders. Thank you for sharing your advice I’ll be reaching for the cream from now on!

    Reply
  6. Kara May 14, 2016 at 08:17

    I had this on my back and had several moles removed at the same time. Scary stuff isn’t it

    Reply
  7. Rachel May 14, 2016 at 15:45

    Great post and great advice, you never can be too careful and people just assume SPF is for the summer when it should be all year round x

    Reply
  8. Glenda Kruse May 14, 2016 at 21:01

    Wow looked painful! Sorry to hear you had skin cancer. My Dermatologist advice me to use SPF 100. I told him why because my complexion is tan and he said it doesn’t matter.

    Reply
  9. Ickle Pickle May 14, 2016 at 22:04

    A great post to raise awareness with the weather turning hotter and sunnier. I am glad you had diagnosis and treatment quickly and effectively. Kaz

    Reply
  10. Anna Nuttall May 17, 2016 at 11:12

    Great photos and good on your raising awareness. xx

    Reply
  11. Sabina @MummyMatters May 17, 2016 at 23:34

    I used to be bad for only wearing the lowest factor of suncream and going on sunbeds but since becoming a Mum I have realised the implications of this and now only ever wear Factor 50 and I will often wear fake tan. It’s just not worth the risk is it.

    Reply
  12. ghostwritermummy May 23, 2016 at 21:09

    Wow. I think the fact that you only mentioned the dry skin in passing really goes to show that these things can be so easily missed! I never really sit out in the sun because I can’t stand it, but also because I burn so easily. I have been burnt as a child and the pain is just awful. And I know that increases your chances of developing skin cancer later in life. I do think though that we as a nation still need to get better at protecting ourselves in the sun. In countries such as Australia they think we’re mad to go out in the sun and bathe in it!

    I hope you’re ok and recover well xx

    Reply

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