skin cancer

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    Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 12:41pm
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Recently my sister had thing on her face looked at by her GP. He determined not a melanoma (type of cancer that can spread and might cause death). She insisted on having it biopsed, and it was a melanoma (skin cancer that can spread and might cause death!). First lesson!

It was surgically removed at the public hospital. The wound was not cleaned properly, blood left, and it became infected. After extended antibiotics, it healed satisfactorily. 

I thought, oh, I havent had a skin check lately. I previously had things looked at by the GP, who removed them either by freezing or surgery. I managed to stay alive, probably by luck I reckon.

I didnt think a GP was ideally the place to get skin checked, due to the extreme time pressure, and probably lack of knowledge and experience.

Ive been to a skin specialist, and had a complete skin check. It was very thorough. 7 things were found not good. Two were removed immediately with freezing. Two had biopsy
 taken and examined.

Four days after the check, 4 things were removed surgically. One was thought to be a melanoma, and 3 were Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer that does grow, but not spread and is not life threatening). After biopsy, the melanoma was not a melanoma, but a BCC.

Im 77. In my earlier years, I did occasionally go around without covering up. The first skin cancer was around age 58. None of the cancers were on legs or hands, but on face and trunk (back, shoulders). One recently was on the top of my nose.

Going out on the sea causes high sun stress. I have tried to reduce it, with a wide hat, and sunscreen, but not enough. I think suns rays are reflected off the sea, and come in under my hat.

It cost - $164 for the skin check - $200 for some treatments - $1825 for surgical removals. Not cheap, but worth every cent I reckon. Getting it public health, would have been free, but the waiting p.....es me off. Four days after the skin check, the surgery was done to remove them.


I have recounted this, as I reckon there are lessons to be learned.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Sambosi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 12:55pm
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I agree LetsGetEm.  I saw a skin specialist at Skin Institute last year for first time and his message to me was your skin has seen a lot of sun and you should have annual checkups.  I had nothing major a few minor things burnt off.

Years ago I had a BCC cut out which had coincidentaly appeared where I had previously been bitten by a white tail spider which post bite flared up and needed anti-biotics.  Coincidence or not?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote tjm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 1:00pm
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Yeh for we out door types skin checks by a reputable place are essential, I'm the late side of 40 and I  noticed a small circular scaly patch on my lower lip, didn't heal, no pain, no bleeding but didn't heal. After about 6 months went to the skin clinic in Howick              ( because I normally work in Akl)they checked it and confirmed not melanoma but a cancer none the less. I had it removed at my expense in a private hospital, it was very expensive but turned out to be fairly complex because of where it was. Plastic surgeon made a great job had to cut internally in the inside of my mount, about 25mm on the out side, finely stitched up and now you cant see it. Apart from two weeks drinking through a straw and a bit of pain it turned out for the better. I'm fairly pale if I don't see the sun, same for most European N.Zrs, I spent most weekends out in the sun in summer from 20 -40 so typical for my age group. I used to go a nice tan color so didn't really think much of it except I noticed a few marks on my back from too much sun. Now I get my skin checked annually by the clinic and have had two other spots removed in not so precarious places ( didn't require plastic surgery) I have just noticed another on my right elbow so when I can get back to work in Auckland I will get it cut out as well. Apparently even though they are not life threatening like melanoma they are an issue as they can spread and get into the lymph nodes.

Moral is if you have seen the sun and even if you are lucky enough to have darker skin get checked.

Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote brmbrm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 1:07pm
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There's a lot of it going round.  Wife and I have annual checkups - I had BCC on side of nose which was removed with some plastic surgery (sort of like pulling my forehead down the front of my nose a bit) but looks fine now (well, as fine as you can get on my ugly face).  Each check-up involves liquid nitrogen blasting all over.  Wife went last week and has one that might need work on.  

Should be covered by public health system in my opinion (OK, I know, higher income tax) but its not
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote tjm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 1:12pm
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Your right, but the health system is  already overloaded ( one of the reasons I think that only people who have paid tax for 10 years should get freeish treatment) I didn't want to wait and then require even more complex surgery so the 12 k while I am still employed is worth it.

Bit scary as the marks I think  are suspect, they aren't worried about and some small freckles I've had for years they want to check regularly
Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Alan L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 1:16pm
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I had my very first check about 5-6 yrs ago. Just one of those things you put off.They were very thorough and found a nasty one straight off, on my back.
Took a big chunk out - several stiches. They said I was lucky. The next 4 annual checks - same story, big chunk out and stitches - about 10. Each one was also sent for assay and came back +ve.
I go every yr now and have managed to talk my fishing buddies to do same. NZ has a very high rate of skin cancer.
I use long sleeve shirts for fishing in NZ, and SPF30-50, and hat. And dont forget eyes as well - good sunnies. Last eye check I had the guy said some sign of sun damage in back of eye. I am heading for 70th. If you spend a lot of time on the water you have to be in the high risk category.
I plan on counting a few more years yet.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Helmsy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 1:58pm
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Best thing I've ever done was invest in a couple of the Simms Solartech Hoodies and Sun Gaiters. With the amount of time I spend on the water and a family history, sunscreen just doesn't cut it anymore but the Solarflex range is a game changer. Super light, breathable, moisture wicking etc and can fish in our fully open boat in direct sun all day with no issues. Well worth checking out
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I regularly had check ups with my doctor but the girls kept hassling me about one spot on my arm so went for a second opinion.
Suddenly everything was urgent and i was rushed to the top for surgery.
The spot was removed plus a lot more and biopsy's taken from lymph nodes.
All good but what pissed me off is it was all at my cost because i wasn't referred by my doctor so my insurance didn't cover it.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote tjm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 3:01pm
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Same and now insurance wont touch you in future for skin cancer.
Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 4:48pm
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Our Health systems needs a shake up.
In 2002 in working in Aussie,went for a mole map check. Right there and then the local GP did a Laser removal of suspected moles on my back.FREE under the medibank/care scheme where its all free except medication then you pay through the nose for it.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote tjm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 5:01pm
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Mate after I stopped flying I didn't have a GP. I went to a doctors reception to apply for a new one when I suspected an issue with my skin and they required my pass port etc before I could even make an appointment. Because I didn't have it on me I didn't bother, I normally travel to Akl every day for work so didn't have much time. I'm a NZ citizen and apart from working in Sydney for 6 years have lived and worked here all my life. We have almost no new local GPs now and to get a new one is nearly impossible. With an aging population, the govt. wanting to bring in more people from overseas, etc etc there is going to be a major issue soon. The govt. is quick to hand out to the so called at risk population but for those of us that have paid our way for many years its looking pretty grim once we retire at 80...Just my opinion for what its worth
Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Crochet Cast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2021 at 7:30pm
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Originally posted by Helmsy Helmsy wrote:

Best thing I've ever done was invest in a couple of the Simms Solartech Hoodies and Sun Gaiters. With the amount of time I spend on the water and a family history, sunscreen just doesn't cut it anymore but the Solarflex range is a game changer. Super light, breathable, moisture wicking etc and can fish in our fully open boat in direct sun all day with no issues. Well worth checking out


Same here. I find that I actually feel cooler covered up than not and if it’s really hot dampening the solarflex down with fresh water cools you down even more as the water evaporates.
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Originally posted by Crochet Cast Crochet Cast wrote:

Originally posted by Helmsy Helmsy wrote:

Best thing I've ever done was invest in a couple of the Simms Solartech Hoodies and Sun Gaiters. With the amount of time I spend on the water and a family history, sunscreen just doesn't cut it anymore but the Solarflex range is a game changer. Super light, breathable, moisture wicking etc and can fish in our fully open boat in direct sun all day with no issues. Well worth checking out


Same here. I find that I actually feel cooler covered up than not and if it’s really hot dampening the solarflex down with fresh water cools you down even more as the water evaporates.
Excellent advice and Pic Crochet Cast! I cover up the same, gloves, special hat and clothing. As I fish from a very small open boat low to water the sun rays reflecting off water are alot harsher than bigger boats offering shade from cabins etc. I'm in my 60's now and luckily a clear run with the cancers so far. NZ up there with the worst skin cancer rates in world.  If your a young buck on here guys reading this and your not covering up now would be a good time to start. Beer
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I have a lot moles on me.
 Spent all my 70yrs  in the sun
 Fair , but maintained a tan all yr round, so no burning as such.
 It is the wife whose moles have checked out +ve rather than mine.. yet she is dark .. should be less prone.
Wife and have  a few moles chopped now by our GP.
 over the last 40 odd yrs
Costs about $60 for 1 large or several small.

He doesnt  take samples/ biopsy before hand for autopsy, he just takes them right out and send for autopsy regardless after.
 Which I dont understand this as our GP said its std procedure to send for checking.

She insisted on having it biopsed, and it was a melanoma

Most are -VE moles or basic skin lesions thingies that may have changed, or may rub on a belt.

 Went to mole mappers for a while. Endf of the day it just seemed a bit of a ripp off  if one keeps a close eye on things... and just gets stuff chopped as turns up/ changes.

Did have a deep on on my leg  few yrs back, got slightly ichy. GP reconned was -ve , but got him to chop it anyway. It was deep too, used a small apple corer .. went in a good 3/4"   to as he said, " best to make sure got it all than leave a bit behind" 
Plus think he enjoyed (admitted) doing that one Wink

What I cant figure is the exorbitant costs ppl incur to chop out a mole.. GP, then to specialist, the another Appointment to get it chopped.. If it needs to be..Our modest $60..( up from 40 20yrs or so ago) as to many hundreds plus.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Reel Deal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2021 at 1:40pm
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unless made to block sun clothing let’s in sun rays too. Big scandal in Ozz when I was there last that all those little beach shade tents didn’t stop cancerous sun rays 
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote tjm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2021 at 1:49pm
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Yeh, same with some sun screens too apparently, bit of a worry if your susceptible to sun burn.
Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2021 at 3:04pm
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Originally posted by tjm tjm wrote:

Yeh, same with some sun screens too apparently, bit of a worry if your susceptible to sun burn.
50+ spf is a con,just as good as the lower spf and cheaper brands,remember banana spf  screen test by fairgo??total failure
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great timely thread.

Dick around with your skin at your peril I reckon. 

I can remember my mother showing someone how healthy I looked because I had a great tan. Ermm

A year ago a mole appeared on my chest, so I went and had it checked it out. Dermatologist said nothing to worry about but lets have a look at the rest of you while you are here. 2 moles on my back she says " I dont like the look of".  Next week I had them cut out and tested. Both melanomas, so off to the surgeon to get more cut out around the area and then had a lymph node removed which tested clear, thank goodness.  I am now on 6 monthly checks with the dermatologist and 6 monthly with the surgeon, so get looked at every 3 months. As I sit typing this I can feel the stitches pulling a bit from the mole that was removed yesterday from my shoulder. 

Good sunnies, good spf clothing esp a buff and wide brim hat. 
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Not good, we love the nice brown look but maybe even for we blokes we need to use the new tanning products. The skin people keep an eye on two of my freckles too, but I see I have another small insignificant round slightly red 1 cm spot developing on my elbow. I can see as soon as I get get back up to Akl ill have another visit to my clinic to get it cut out. The problem is even though its not melanoma it can spread in your blood stream and then the lymph nodes need removing, chemo etc etc. The price we pay for having an out door life 20 or so years ago grrr
 Moral is if your young, look after your skin now not when its too late
Cant beat hunting and Fishing in N.Z
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2021 at 7:54pm
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Common theme here I too Annual visits to get small bits frozen. So far no surgery but like all the advise above go get checked by the pros.Thumbs Up
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