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Skin cancer surgery

I had skin surgery today. I never saw the doctor. The nurses practitioner did the cutting and two nurses stitched it up. Is this normal? At my previous dermatologist I had skin cancer removed twice. Both times, it was the doctor himself who did the cutting and the stitching.

  1. ...I'm so sorry to hear about your surgery. I know how frustrating and scary it can be.


    I don't think it's too uncommon for nurse practitioners to be pretty hands-on when it comes to surgery. It all may depend on where the excision site is located too.

    Please keep us posted on your progress. I'm sending lots of positive thoughts your way for smooth and speedy healing!




    April, SkinCancer.net, Moderator

    1. My derm's office is super busy, and I was lucky to become a patient. I went in to have an AK looked at, and an NP saw me. She took a biopsy. It came back as Basal Cell Cancer, and that gave everyone quite a surprise. She did electrocautery (I have forgotten the exact term). I don't think I saw the doctor until sometime later for a follow up check.
      ,
      I got a "cancellation appointment" a couple of weeks ago, and again it was an NP who saw me and wrote out an Efudex prescription for an AK. I have an appointment to see the doctor at the end of May for my regular yearly follow-up.

      1. Oops, let me clarify. Back in 2018 I went in for an appointment to get an AK checked at the base of my neck in back. I had no thoughts of it being cancer at the time. I figured it was good to get established as a patient since I have red hair (or had--its a dye job now, LOL). At that point, the dermotologist had just opened her practice up to new non-acne patients (the medical shortage has been a struggle for years, actually). I saw one of her NPs. Great lady!
        .
        That AK turned out to be cancer and was dealt with. I was at a tennis tournament a week later.
        .
        I've had a couple of AKs removed from my face with liquid N2 prviously (one spot had an actually biopsy to go with it) since then. A new lession appeared about a month ago. This one was a little concerning to me, and that was when I got in with an "cancellation appointment." I specifically asked for Efudex as oppose to N2, not really knowing what I was getting in to.
        .
        An aquaintance had used it, and made it sound as if it was no big deal--but much more convenient to use in the winter months. Sun avoidance is easier. So I turn lobster red. No big deal if I avoid having to deal with big city hospitals and Mohs surgery later in life.
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        The NP indicated that I would react very strongly to it, but didn't say much more than that. I guess she assumed that I knew more than I really did.
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        Well, as noted, not much of a reaction. I'll look at the above articles. Thank you

      2. ...It's definitely not uncommon for the medical community to be less than forthcoming about Efudex and the possible side effects. The first time I was prescribed Efudex, my dermatologist told me I would feel like I had a bad sunburn--understatement of the year.


        That being said, there a plenty of patients who do not experience the more severe side effects of pain, itching, burning, and tightness. I am glad you are one of the ones who hasn't been hit hard with the worst of the effects!


        Keep us updated on your results! April, SkinCancer.net, Moderator

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