Friday, July 27, 2012

Basil Cell Carcinoma Ruins My Movie Career

In July 2012, I was diagnosed with a "superficial" basil cell carcinoma on my right forehead.

A basal cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer -- the most common form in the United States. It starts in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). Most basal cell cancers occur on skin that is regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation. This includes the top of your head, or scalp. Basal cell skin cancer is most common in people over age 40. However, it occurs in younger people, too, especially in people who insist on year around tanning, for instance those using tanning studios.
You are more likely to get basal cell skin cancer if you have:
  • Light-colored or freckled skin
  • Blue, green, or grey eyes
  • Blond or red hair
  • Many moles
  • Close relatives who have or had skin cancer
  • Many severe sunburns early in life
  • Long-term daily sun exposure ( such as building in the building trades receive)
I am Italian-American, have a relatively dark complexion, brown eyes, few moles, and no freckles. I love the sun. I didn't wear sun block as a kid growing up in Southern California. I started wearing sun block later in life, but not religiously.

That's me in the photo below.
If you look carefully, you can just make out the small
circular spot on my forehead above the right eye. The
picture was taken 6 weeks before surgery.
I had Moh's surgery on July 25, 2012. Eleven stitches were required to close.

Blood draining from the wound 2 days later pooling in eyelids.
Why didn't I use sun block? Just stupid, I guess.
Blood pooling in eye lids worse 48 hours after surgery.
Taking 500 mg Tylenol every 6 hours for pain.

Wound 72 hours after surgery. Blood still showing in lids and under eyes.
Pain has abated to the point I no longer require medication.
Scar, stitches removed, 14 days after surgery.

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