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Newbie, Just Diagnosed with Lots of Questions

For the past week, I have been reading various threads about skin cancer as I wait for the biopsy results from a spot on the top of my ear. I just received the news that it is squamous cell carcinoma. I am of course freightened about what this means and have many questions, but unfortunately the technician who delivered the news did not seem to be as knowledgeable about the situation as I had hoped. For example, I understand that the ear is a high-risk area for SCC and should be considered for urgent treatment. The technician made it sound more like a normal day of removing a harmless skin cancer, although she did mention that MOHS would be the method. I asked why there was no sense of urgency and she again said it was a standard cancer and procedure. She said it was considered "well-differentiated," which, according to Google, are cells that look like normal cells. This makes me wonder why then it is skin cancer. She was unable to tell me the stage, as she said that is determined during the MOHS procedure, which did not seem correct. I am scared, confused, and alone. I just wanted to say something to someone, even if it is only on a message board.

  1. Thanks for reaching out. You have come to the right place. I had SCC on my lip and three recurrences. I had a shave excision surgery all four times. My surgery was done the same day of diagnosis each time by a plastic surgeon, but I think that is somewhat more unusual. Just wanted to reach out and lend some support. I know others will join in. Do you have specific questions? There is a wealth of knowledge on this website from folks who have been where you are. Take care.

    1. Hello , thank you very much for your quick response and sharing your experiences. I have many questions, most of which can probably only be answered by a doctor. I have a question about staging that I hope members can answer. Is this not always done? I was told that it was not for BCC and SCC, especially for well-differentiated cancers. I know I will also have many questions for members at some point (i.e., advice on protecting skin going forward, easing anxiety over every new spot). At the moment, I'm just confused by the news. I would never have expected this at 47, and as someone who is probably closer to Fitzpatrick III, except with freckles, which I have just learned this week is a sign that I am at higher risk of skin cancer.

      1. First of all, thank you for reaching out. I am a melanoma survivor myself and I understand any anxiety that you may be feeling. I have read your post and my best thoughts are to speak to the doctor that ordered the procedure about what this all means for you. I would continue to ask questions until you were satisfied with your answers from a medical professional. My personal experience is that some medical professionals are better at explaining results than others. If you are still not satisfied, then possibly a second opinion might be in order. Either way, I will be thinking of you and hope to hear back on how you are doing. Scott skin moderator

        1. Keep us posted, please. 👍

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