Skin Cancer: Does Time Heal All Wounds?

We’ve all heard the often-quoted saying, “Time heals all wounds.” But, does time heal all of our skin cancer wounds?

I was first diagnosed with skin cancer in June 2018, and since then, I have had ongoing skin issues. I have now graduated to seeing the dermatologist and having a skin check every four months. Before that, I was being seen every three months. I am an established patient at two hospitals in Texas, and I rotate my skin checks between dermatologists at both hospitals.

Needing surgery, what's next?

Most recently, I had a skin check at MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the hospitals where I am seen, and I had two mole biopsies on my right leg. After seven days, my dermatologist followed up to say that I had two dysplastic nevi, one was moderately atypical and one was severely atypical. The dermatologist told me that the severely atypical mole biopsy would have to be surgically removed in an excision surgery procedure. After giving it some thought, I decided to have the surgery at the hospital in the city where I live for at least two reasons. First, I already knew the oncology dermatology surgeon at the hospital near me. I had skin surgery with that surgeon in March 2022, and I thought she was nothing short of an exceptional professional. She had really good bedside manner and made a bad situation actually bearable with her friendly personality. Second, I knew that if I had my surgery at the hospital closest to me, a friend or church member might offer to go with me to the surgery. Basically, I would have much-needed emotional support if I had surgery at the hospital closest to me.

How I prepare for my skin checks?

In all honesty, my skin cancer journey will never be easy, but it has gotten a little easier. About one month prior to each skin check, I feel myself mentally and emotionally bracing for what lies ahead. After all, at the last several skin checks, I have had two mole biopsies each time. As I prepare for each upcoming skin check, my mind asks many legitimate questions. Will there be more biopsies at this skin check? Will I get another skin cancer diagnosis? Will I need yet another surgical procedure? What will the dermatologist say to me? Will her words be positive, or will she demonstrate that she is concerned about where things stand?

What does going forward look like?

Even if time could heal all of my previous skin cancer wounds, it does not help that there are always new wounds, more wounds, as skin cancer wounds are an ongoing issue when you are on a skin cancer journey. And skin checks for those on a skin cancer journey, like me, unfortunately, are frequent and will never end. Likewise, biopsies and skin surgeries seem to be an ongoing reality of life as well. Even with all that being true, I am learning to manage this life, my life with ongoing skin cancer issues. It is not an easy road, for sure, and it is not the road I would have chosen for myself, but it is the journey I am on.

Is your skin cancer journey getting any easier with time? If so, how is it easier? Have you learned to handle the situation better?

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