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Thanks very much for this reply to Julie. You know far more about PNI then I do.
Hang in there,
Husband had SCC removed Oct 2016 at R temple. VERY small spot. At the time he had symptoms of formication, (feeling of insects crawling on skin), & numbness at R temple. He told his dermatologist these symptoms, the Dr doing the Mohs surgery (only 1 Dr does this surgery in a large city & that is all he does) & they both recommended he see a Neurologist. He saw Neurologist right after Mohs & had MRI. He was told, could be nerve damage, could take 6 months to a year here is some gabapentin. We persisted, 7 Dr later & with symptoms progressing to stabbing pain, migrating down check & affecting lower right side of face to now R eye is being affected. Finally got diagnosis of Perineural Invasion last week. We now see this was present at time of MOHS surgery & none of the Dr caught. We are trying to get approval to go to Sloan Kettering. Everything we read the prognosis is poor. It has affected 3 nerves in 15 mos. Any advice?????Reply
Scheduled for radiation starting this coming Tuesday. Do you think SRT, mentioned above, would be better than standard radiation (5 minutes / day for 4 weeks, weekends off – 20 treatments in total)? My BSC is in a spot very awkward for surgery, too, adjacent to and just above my mouth and close to my noseReply
To address your question comparing SRT and standard radiation for your BCC, several things. When you say that your BCC is in an awkward spot I am assuming that you mean that you can’t do MOHS surgery. Secondly, as the article below says, it all depends… on your stage, etc.
Is your MD a PCP or a dermatologist?
Superficial Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers
“In conclusion, SRT is likely a viable alternative for the treatment of BCCs and SCCs in a select group of patients.11However, additional studies need to be conducted in order to further delineate its role in the management of both. Consideration should be given to the size, location, and histopathology of the tumor as larger tumors and SCCs located on the scalp and ear have been associated with significantly higher rates of recurrence. Nevertheless, SRT is an additional modality that dermatologists can use to treat skin cancer, especially in the elderly population, that may provide comparable efficacy and cosmesis to more invasive options.?Reply
Hi David I have had a sore that heals up quite well always a redish skin tone and re appears canesteen cream seemed to do the trick. I showed this to a doctor on a unrelated visit and he figured it to be a potential cancer I have another 1 month wait for a city dermatologist who uses Aura scan to determine
what it is and followed by biopsy and surgical removal should I be worried about the wait?
ps i have been using an aunt in NewZealands ointment(she has a clinic for skin cancers) and it has brought some black bits sliver like to the surface three years ago below lesion I tore my calf and could this be related?
It is difficult for me to consider a skin sore that I can’t see. I encourage you to have it biopsied and removed if necessary. Statistically, your chances are your sore is not malignant. I can’t say if your two health issues are related.
My husband has basal cell on his nose. We tried curaderm but it is too painful. It bleeds at will 🙁 What other natural cures do you use?Reply
Once a basel cell carcinoma appears on the skin I know of know natural method for removing it. Depending on the size of your husband’s basal cell cancer on his nose, studies say that surgery (Mohs) is the best combination of ease, healing, etc. The real issue for you two to to think about is a possible relapse. A another basel cell spot on his face. My experience as a cancer coach is that patients with one non-melanoma skin cancer want to reduce the risk of a second tumor in the future.
Vitamin B3 has been shown to reduce the risk of a second BC cancer. Certainly, less sun, wearing a hat, etc. all will reduce your husband’s risk of a second NMSC.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Hang in there,
I have had 7 basal cell skin cancers removed from my face in the last 15 years. I am 60. I am checked every 6 months. The last two were just removed. I keep wondering if there is something in my diet I could change that might help. Or a vitamin supplement.
My family and friends ask me this question frequently. Your question today pushed me to write a blog post about the therapy shown to reduce the recurrence of skin cancer relapse. So to answer your question, there is a vitamin supplement shown to help you.
Please don’t be alarmed by the term “high-risk patient.” You are high-risk only because you have had many basel cell carcinomas removed previously.
Prevent Skin Cancers, Pre-skin cancers relapse with inexpensive, oral supplement
Let me know if you have any questions.
Hi David my husband was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma on his temple a few days ago and we’ll be seeing the surgeon on Friday but meanwhile his eyelid is swelling fast (within a few hours) do you think it may be metastasizing already?
Thank you and what a wonderful website
I am sorry to read of your husband’s sc. diagnosis. As you probably know, SCC rarely metastasizes. However, the article linked below talks about both what appears to be some of the swelling you are talking about and the importance of ” suspecting malignancy.” Seeing your surgeon on Friday is the right course of action to biopsy and diagnose your situation further.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Hi David Thank you for the information but now I’m more concerned and confused. The authorization is taking so long even if I’m proactive about it. What worries me more is that its quite big 2.3 x 1.6 x 2.1cm but we noticed it about eight weeks ago. Any information/feedback would be greatly appreciated. ThanksReply
My challenge is that I cannot provide any information from here. Your doctor must biopsy the SCC to make a formal diagnosis. The article that I sent to you simply raised possible issues that your doctor must answer. I don’t know what sort of “authorization” you are referring to.
Hang in there,
Hi David, great site…thank you.I have had multiple BBC’c removed from my back and just recently from my scalp. Man i am only 55 and spend most of my time outside riding bike’s running and exercising, what a bummer.
I was wondering what your supplement regime is and have you heard of using Epsom salt to treat BCC?
I’m sure that you know to cover your skin when you are now biking, running, etc. In addition consider supplementing with nicominocide (sp) to reduce your risk of basil or squamous cell skin cancers developing into melanoma.
Further, studies show that certain antioxidants such as green tea extract can also reduce your risk of melanoma.
I have just had a tumor squamous cell from my upper eyelid by the tear duct what can I do to keep it from spreading and what are the usual forms of treatment for this?Reply
I am sorry to read of your non-melanoma squamous cell skin cancer. I will link and article outlining the usual therapies for treatment. The key is for you to remove the tumor ASAP and not let the cancer spread. If you surgically remove the tumor you should solve you problem most of the time. The usual follow-up therapies to further reduce your risk of relapse (another NMSCSC) is to stay out of the sun, supplement with those non-toxic therapies shown to reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, eat fruits and veggies and not drink too much.
Let me know if you have any questions.
I have squamous cell breast cancer (only .1% of all breast cancers) and I think my 5 yr. survival rate is about 33%. There is very little information on this type of breast cancer and no field trials. But I need to learn more. Can you help?Reply
I am sorry to read of your scbc diagnosis. You are correct. This type of bc is very rare and not-well studied and therefore has a poor five year average survival rate.
To answer your question, yes I can help. I don’t really pay attention to five year averages anyway. Standard of care therapies have their place in conventional oncology but people don’t usually work with me if all they want to pursue is conventional therapies.
I will be direct. I have never had a SCBC client. My scan of the research just now tells me that you should pursue a little conventional therapy if you can and add integrative, complimentary and alternative therapies when it makes sense to you.
For example if you are able, your first therapy would be surgery to debulk your cancer as much as possible. Depending on your stage I would then discuss possible integrative therapies to enhance conventional chemo that is indicated for SCBC.
Keep in mind that there are a host of therapies for BC that are based on research (evidence-based) yet are not FDA approved.
Have you been staged? Have you undergone any therapies yet?
It has been recently discovered that the gene associated with Rosacea is located between two other genes that cause autoimmune diseases such as lupus and sarcoidosis. The presumption is that the Rosacea gene might also be autoimmune.
It is a reasonable but unproven speculation that “barnacles” might be autoimmune sarcoidosis. This has nothing to do with BCC. There is a newly approved ivermectin creme used to treat barnacles.Reply
Hi David, I am a 47yr female whose had MOHS surgery twice on my scalp for BCC. I now have another area of basal cell carcinoma that my Dr. prescibed Erivegde for. I don’t like the odds of the chemo drug and want to give bec5 Curaderm a try. Do you know anyone who’s taken care of their BCC with Curaderm?Reply
Thought there are side effects associated with Erivegde, the answer to your question depends largely on 1) if your BCC is “locally advanced” or “metastatic.” Yes, your BCC has relapsed. But has it spread to other parts of your body? Has your dr. talked about this?
New Treatment for Rare Skin Cancer
The more info I have the more research I can do and more complete answer I can give.
Let me know,
My wife has squamous cell carcinoma and will be doing the Mohr’s surgery Monday July 10th. We used to like to go to the ocean and enjoy it’s beauty, including laying in the sun and walking the gorgeous beaches. If we skipped the part about laying in the sun, could we still enjoy the ocean without subjecting her to a reoccurance of SCC? Specifically we would avoid the sun’s intense rays between 10am and 2pm, apply SPF greater than 30 every 60-80 minutes, wear a long sleeve shirt, pants and a wide brimmed hat? Thank you for your service and helping us through this difficulty.Reply
I am sorry to read of your wife’s squamous cell cancer diagnosis. You are correct that your first step to reduce her risk of relapse or metastasis is to surgically remove (Moh’s) lesion. Also I should state that on average the risk of relapse or spreading is low. Put another way, your wife’s five year average survival rate is almost 100%.
Your question about possibly continuing to enjoy the beach is the central issue for all cancer patients. And that is the quality of life versus quantity of life. I am sorry for sounding philosophical but I’m hoping to put things in perspective for you.
The least amount of risk you can take would be for your wife to sit in a dark room for the rest of her life. Low quality of life but increased quantity of life in theory. Extreme but I’m trying to make a point. The greatest risks your wife could take would be to spent lots of time in the sun taking none of the precautions you mention above. Higher quality of life but reduced length of life in theory.
Okay, now that I’ve outlined quality vs. quantity I’ll try to answer your questions. Everything you mentioned-no more suntanning, little time outside between 10-2:00, applying sun tan lotion, wearing a hat, etc. all will reduce your wife’s risk of either relapse or metastasis of her SCC.
Since I myself have an increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer I will include a few steps that I take.
-there are a number of evidence-based, non-toxic supplements that reduce the risk of NMSC- green tea extract, curcumin, others.
-there are several evidence-based vitamins also shown to reduce the risk of SCC-
Vitamin D and melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer risk and prognosis: a comprehensive review and meta-analysis.
Vitamin B3-A Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin-Cancer Chemoprevention
Brent, I am a cancer survivor myself. I take specific steps to reduce my risks of relapse or secondary cancers but I try to balance quality with quantity of life.
I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. The reply above is a general reply to your situation. I can reply with a more specific, research based reply is you want but I am starting with the basics.
I hope I have helped your situation. Good luck and I hope you and your wife enjoy yourselves.
I am age 69 and had Squamous Cancer in my ear 15 years ago. Recently I’ve had pre Squamous on the top of my head which was frozen off and left a huge bald spot on my head. Being a woman with already thinning hair, this was awful and took six months to heal. Now, I have additional areas appearing and the dermatologist is trying chemo therapy (Fluorouracil) but says it doesn’t work well in hair. I’ll start B3 but what’s your opinion of this chemo therapy? Thanks for your service.Reply
I am sorry to read of your previous struggle with NMSC, pre-SC and now additional areas on your head. Can you tell me if “additional areas appearing” are actually non-melanoma skin cancer or pre-NMSC? If they are pre cancer I would recommend evidence-based botanical therapies and if the areas are truly cancer I would talk about 5-FU (florouracil), etc.
Have you actually been diagnosed with skin cancer or pre-skin cancer?
Great reading…Thanks David. I have let some things go too long, I have consultation this week and I will let you know what he says.Reply
Are you referring to “barnacles of aging”
While searching for an alternative to Mohs surgery I found Sensus Health care online. They offer a non invasive radio therapy treatment, for among other things, basal cell carcinoma treatment. As my site of concern is adjacent to my lip I am resistant to Mohs (which I have had 4 years ago in another site on my face). Do you have any information you can share with regarding the success and downside of this treatment?
The timing of your contact is remarkable. I say this because my google alerts has been dominated for the past week or so with articles about SRT. I am leary of any therapy that involves radiation. Further, I have no personal experience with SRT. Sorry for the long reply. I kept reading content that I thought you wanted to read yourself.
Bottom line- yes Mohs is the gold standard but yes, there is a risk of scarring with Mohs. Yes, radiation might have greater long-term risks but no one knows…
I will excerpt from a recent article to try to address your questions.
SRT treatment for skin cancer gains popularity, but it’s not for everyone
“A skin cancer treatment that’s come in and out of favor over the years, called superficial radiation therapy, is gaining popularity again, say skin experts. But some doctors are wary, especially of its use in younger people, since the long-term effects aren’t fully understood…
The treatment uses very focused, low-dose radiation that only goes skin-deep to stop cancer cells from spreading. Patients receive a series of short (30 second) treatments, usually once or twice a week over a series of weeks. It’s performed in a doctor’s office by a dermatologist trained and certified in using SRT. It does not involve anesthesia or an incision and the side effects tend to be mild, including some redness and irritation at the treated site…
SRT is not the first-line treatment for basal and squamous cell skin cancers, though, and some skin cancer specialists don’t use it at all…
Mohs (pronounced “moes”) is a specialized procedure in which the surgeon removes the cancerous tissue layer by layer, explained Thomas, who is also the director of the Mohs unit at MD Anderson. During the surgery, the surgeon uses a microscope to look at the tissue that was removed to check for cancer cells. The surgeon will continue to remove a very small amount of skin at a time and look at it under the microscope until there are no more cancer cells. Mohs surgery causes less scarring and has a shorter healing period than removing the entire area at once.
“It’s called bread-loafing a tumor,” said Thomas, noting that the cure rate after Mohs is high. There’s less than a one percent recurrence rate...
Younger patients run the risk that the radiation treatment could increase the odds of later skin cancer in the same spot, she explained.
But even the chance of minimal scarring that can come with some Mohs surgery puts some patients on edge, and SRT can be an appealing option, especially if their cancer is in plain sight on the face – the nose, the eyelid, lips or ear…
“He told me there would be scarring and my lip would be pursed up because there wasn’t enough skin to close it. With that I got a little scared,” said Hefferen.
She held off for about eight months, reconsidering her options, until her doctor urged her to make a decision because leaving non-melanoma skin cancer untreated for too long can cause the cancer to spread and become more serious.
Hefferen came across Dr. Goldberg’s name online and went to see him at his office in New Jersey to discuss SRT, an option her dermatologist wasn’t aware of, she said.
“I decided it was a route I wanted to go. I didn’t want scarring or disfigurement,” she said…
“There is the benefit that there’s no scar, but long term radiation to the skin can lead to secondary malignancies, photo aging, which is what everybody hates, either dark spots or light spots, red blood vessels, skin becoming delicate, wrinkling and a loss of skin elasticity. All these things are directly related to UV or ionizing radiation,” Thomas said…
Let me know if you have any questions.
I have had a couple of BCCs removed through Moh’s surgery. Both were hidden in my hairline, so scarring is hidden. Recently I noticed a tiny BCC emerging on my cheek. I would love to avoid the invasive Moh’s procedure to get rid of it. Have you heard of anyone having luck with treating them topically with tea tree oil? Thanks for being an advocate!Reply
As you can see from the search page, there are many reports/articles about tea tree oil and basel cell carcinoma.
However, I would like to find sources that are a bit more substantial than the ones above. You are dealing with two issues. First and foremost, if the basel cell “emerges” on your cheek you will need to remove it. While there are other therapies, Mohs is the standard.
The other issue you face is to reduce or eliminate future non-melanoma skin cancers from appearing. I am assuming that you don’t sit in the sun and wear protective clothing when in the sun. While you read the study linked below keep in mind that I am a cancer survivor myself and I am at a high risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. I supplement with several antioxidants that studies have shown to reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.
You may be interested in non-surgical therapies for non-melanoma skin cancer-
There is a lot of info above. Let me know if you have any questions.
I’m using curaderm bec5 for my 2nd basil cell occurance in lieu of moh’s.Reply
Two things. Please consider adding vitamin B3 to your routine. Bs has been shown to reduce the relapse of basel cell carcinoma.
Further, please keep me posted, if you think of it, re your opinion of curaderm. I’m trying to figure out the efficacy.
I’m not exactly sure what you are asking. Yes, I supplement with several therapies that research has shown can reduce my risk of skin cancer. I also use topical therapies.
Have you been diagnosed with skin cancer? Or pre-skin cancer?
I’m here due to a diagnosis of perineural invasion (PNI) also, secondary to the fourth occurence of infiltrative BCC in ten years. If you and your husband read the academic papers, William Mendenhall, et al, at University of Florida, Jacksonville, has written about PNI and non-melanoma skin cancer extensively over the past 20 years. They’ve covered the tech details of surgery, radiation and chemo and have statistics on outcomes. They’ve found that radiotherapy improves the surgical outcome, including proton therapy, which can be focused to sub-millimeter accuracy and does less damage to healthy neighboring tissue. They discuss surgical removal of non-malignant lymphatic structures to minimize the chance of metastasis. Here’s a link to these articles:
I’m hoping David (or anyone) will know of a less damaging approach. The conventional treatments have unintended consequences, some of them predictable, others not. I’m more interested in ways to “turn the process (of cancer) off” rather than cutting, burning and poisoning it.
Best to you both, RayReply