Squamous Cell "Radar" Right On
Some people think you can’t park in New York, which of course is not true, because somebody needs to do it. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the city, but I happen to have a good parking radar. That means I can sense when there is an open spot or a spot opening up, and I proudly navigate in there. It’s even better when the spot is “good for tomorrow,” meaning that if the alternate side of the street parking is in my favor, I can get two days out of it.
How does this relate to predicting a squamous cell cancer diagnosis?
Well, I also have a squamous cell cancer radar. Not because I grew up with squamous cell cancers, but because I know the signs, having had so many that I lost count. I didn’t always know that a flaky spot, or one that won’t heal, is a sign of squamous cell carcinoma. But I caught on after I got a few. I thought at first they were dry skin spots, but then I realized that they weren’t. The flakes on the skin cancers are a little bigger, and if you pull at them or scratch them, they can bleed.
Squamous cell signs
I was pretty sure I had one at the top of my cheekbone, near my ear, where my sideburn is. At first, I wasn’t suspicious when I was writing or pondering (I can’t remember which) and rubbed my left hand along that area and drew blood, I knew it. I forgot about it but then I did it again and the same thing happened. Then I realized I had a raised spot that wasn’t healing. A spot that won’t heal can be a sign of skin cancer. I also noticed a raised area at the back of my head, at the bottom of my hairline. I didn’t scratch it, so it didn’t bleed. But when I rubbed my hand along the area, I felt that it was also flaky.
Difficulty getting into the dermatologist
I couldn’t get an appointment with my regular dermatologist so I made an appointment with another in the same group. I don’t know why it is so hard to get an appointment with some dermatologists. As a side note, I had no success when I tried to get a dermatology appointment closer to my home, in the western part of Massachusetts, after my first stem cell transplant. They said I would have to wait six months. I said I was recovering from cancer treatment and was at higher risk, and they basically said "too bad".
That’s when I decided to take my business to the Boston area, 90 miles from my home, where I got my leukemia treatment. As a high-risk patient, it was probably better to go to this medical hub anyway.
Will my squamous cell prediction come true?
The dermatologist who I saw for the spots on my face and my neck ended up doing four scrape biopsies. I thought I had one spot near my ear but there were actually three in a cluster. She also biopsied the one at the back of my head. As I'm writing this, a week later, I don’t know the results. I will be surprised if I don’t need another Mohs surgery. I lined up some substitutes for my weekly tennis game, just in case, because I’m supposed to wait two weeks before playing.
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