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What to know about treatment on the nose?

What should one know going into skin cancer treatment on the nose, particularly with regards to surgery? Are there special considerations?

  1. When I was diagnosed with basal cell on my nose, my doctors office made my appt with the skin cancer doc for me. I received this very pretty pamphlet in the mail from them, that was very non informative about possible procedures, but talked about how aesthetically pleasing the surgery center was going to be. Not my dermatologist or the cancer doc prepared me for what was going to be the most traumatic experience of my life. I had a very small spot on my nose, about the size of sesame seed. I thought I would go in for my appt, and leave with a few stitches on my nose. After Mohs was performed three times, I was faced with making a decision on how to reconstruct my face, because the majority of my nose tip was gone. I opted for a forehead flap repair, but was so traumatized, as it was a decision that I had to make based on events that no one prepared me for. As for the procedure itself, it was the most barbaric thing I have ever experienced. I was awake for the entire operation, and given only a Valium for “relaxation”. This is something that I still can’t understand. People elect to have a facelift, and get general anesthesia, yet, here I am with cancer, and have to be awake? It was horrific. My advice would be, if you are diagnosed with any kind of cancer on the nose, ask the doctor for best and worst case scenario. And definitely find one that would use anesthesia to complete the procedure.

    1. Thank you so so much for sharing this experience, ! I'm sorry you had to go through so much unprepared - it is really frightening that you can be pushed into these situations without any information. I hope that by reading this, someone else might know that they aren't alone in facing these decisions. I love your advice, to ask best and worst case scenarios, and inquire about anesthesia as well. Wishing you the best and thank you again for being a member of our community! - Nina, Team

  2. Advice from the Facebook community, across a range of diagnoses:

    "the nose is a tough spot , was for me anyway ...I did know before going in I better have the best dermatologist ..for that spot , a board certified MOHs expert also in reconstruction ...I wound up having a deep incision..many needles & stitches ..she did a fine job ...for me the key is the surgeon"

    "I had malignant melanoma on the tip of my nose resulting in a 1 CM excision cutting down to the cartilage. My advice is don’t let a dermatologist do any cutting (they will try hard to convince you in your vulnerable state that they can do facial reconstruction). See an ENT doc that has experience in facial reconstruction with experience in the procedure you need."

    "I had MOHs on nose by side of nostril. I had it done by my ent plastic surgeon. It was a local surgery. Numbing agents. It was small, not too deep and healing was fast. My surgeon was excellent and I can't even see a scar."

    "I have had 2 skin grafts & 3 MOHs surgeries on my nose. To me it is a very painful spot for the mumbling needles but fine after that. Same for me no bending, exercising til the stitches are removed."

    "I had to not bend, lift anything. Bc of it being my nose & fear of more bleeding, pulling stitches. Mine was on the bridge of my nose. 3 numbing needles."

    "I had MOHS surgery on my nose. Recovery was good not to uncomfortable. I am healing fine still a little sensitive. Dr did a Great Job don't see any scaring."

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