Skin cancer fears

Hi all. I hope everyone is “well” - or as well as can be expected. Please accept my apologies for this “I’m worried” post!

I’m worried about a “thing” on my thigh. I call it a “thing” as I don’t know what it is - but it appeared 6-8 weeks ago, and now it sits there taunting me every time I get undressed. It’s about 5mm by about 3mm, so not particularly big, and it’s pinkish - sometimes it feels slightly raised, and other times it doesn’t. Through a magnifying glass you can see what appears to be little tiny pin prick blisters. I’'ve gone through my catalogue of creams and potions, and sometimes it looks like it’s getting better - and then changes its mind. Being on biologics, I’m obviously worried about what it might be - always worst case scenario. And I’d be lying if it I said it didn’t look like a bit like BCC pictures online and - worst case scenario again - some of the amelanotic melanoma pictures. But there’s also sebaceous hyperplasia, too, which it also looks like.

I have an appointment with the GP on Monday 1st July, but it’s playing on mind a great deal. Luckily, I noticed it straight away as it’s on the front of my thigh - about two inches away from where I inject my benapali - but I thought I’d somehow scratched it to start with, or that it was just a spot of some kind that would go in its own sweet time.

But I’m assuming that catching it early and small would be a good thing if it did turn out to be a skin cancer of some kind? I should add it certainly isn’t sun-related if it is something “undesirable.” I’m not one for going out in the sun more than I can help it - and I can’t think of the last time my legs saw the sun. Probably in PE lessons at school - which is a very long time ago now (and, even then, this mark is slightly higher up and would have been covered).

What’s more, I have a short break towards the back end of July that I’m really looking forward to, and don’t really want to have to miss it because of having a chunk of my leg dug out!

It’s been a fun week, all in all. Found out today my boiler had a gas leak and that I’ve been breathing in carbon monoxide for a week - which explains the headaches I’ve had (and I very rarely get headaches). At least I know the headaches are not some horrible disease, too!

Huge possibility is that’s some type of skin reaction to the buffer agents in Benepali. Given Benepali is a weekly injection - are you ensuring not just alternating legs for injecting but also side of tummy? Just my thoughts. Later skin cancer issues tends to happen to those of us who actively sun bathed when we were teenagers (and if we’ve old enough) in the days before coherent sun screen was available too.

I’m so glad you’ve identified that gas leak. Please get a carbon monoxide alarm. Everyone with gas fuelled appliances in their home should have one.

And take care in this heatwave us living in the UK are to be subjected to this week too.

1 Like

Hey. Good to hear from you :slight_smile: I really struggle with injecting in my tummy, to be honest - at least with these pens. I was fine doing it with warfarin, when I had to do that for a few days. The Benapali injections are so bloomin’ painful - they never used to be. The spot that I have is certainly a bit higher up than where I do my injections, but I guess it could also be an infected hair follicle or something of that nature. I had one of those on my hands at one point, and that took ages to die down, too, but it was smaller than this.

I have a carbon monoxide alarm, but it didn’t seem to work - despite the “test” process being fine. I might well buy another one - the ones provided to us in housing association properties are often the cheapest of the cheap!

I’ll come back and let you know how things progress when I’ve been to the docs!

Just a few thoughts…my wife and I were those people who would never consider cancer as a part of our lives. But last April, I noticed a 5x10ish mm spot on her shin. It was slowly getting bigger. It didn’t have the typical raised or multicoloured markings, brown and very flat. She pointed it out to her GP who made an appointment the next week, froze it, cut it out (and a generous area around it) and sent it to the lab. She didn’t think anything would come of it but 2 weeks later we got a call from cancer care for a minor surgery in a few weeks. The biopsy came back as Superficial Spreading Melanoma…quite serious. I watched the surgeon cut out an area the size of a tennis ball (sort of oblong) and very deep. It healed marvellously. She now sees a dermatologist every 3 months for 2 years and on going for life. We are very thankful that our GP had the sense to send in the cuttings that she made even though it really didn’t look like anything serious. With the wide surgery, no more cancer was found. AND, believe me, she covers up and uses lots of sunscreen. Men seldom get this cancer on their legs but more prevalent on their backs. Long story to make a point…don’t let Google pictures keep you from diligently acting on an abnormal new skin spot. Getting in quickly may have saved my wife’s life.
Regarding the gas leak. As a former repair guy, an appliance, burning natural gas will only set off a carbon monoxide detector if it is an exhaust leak. (chimney, flu etc) But if you were told that you have a gas leak, it is a natural gas leak (the supply line) that won’t be detected by a Carbon Monoxide detector. Typically the gas leak would give off a particular odour…kind of rotten eggs. But you can become used to it and not notice it. I called the gas company many times when I walked into a home to do a repair and instantly smelled gas that the customer was unaware of. You can purchase small, hand held gas leak detectors from Amazon…not expensive.
I’ve only had Auto-injector pens for my biologics: Humira, Simponi and Taltz. No pain, no reaction and yes move the injection site around.
I hope I didn’t alarm you with our cancer experience…be well!

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your experience. Thankfully, the spot I have is about half of the size of your wife’s (about 5-6mm by 3mm), and doesn’t seem to have got bigger over the last few weeks, which was when I started taking a real note of it. It’s pink rather than dark or brown, so I’m hoping that’s also on my side - although I know melanoma’s can be that colour, too. Mum has had a couple of BCCs - one on her nose, and I can’t remember where the other one was.

Google pictures generally don’t put me off going to see a GP - I’m more likely to see a GP than not - but I just keep hoping I see something similar that isn’t worrying to calm me down in the meantime. I have bipolar, so when these things kinds of things get in my head, they just take over. I just wish I hadn’t cancelled the appointment a couple of weeks ago when it looked like it was getting better, but it seemed the right thing to do. Oddly, the colour seems to change during the course of the day - soemtimes pink, sometimes a bit redder, but whether a cancer would do that or not, I’m not sure.

As we have come this far, I’ll upload a couple of pics. One is from June 7th (the first pic I took), where it looks kind of circular, red and a little “angry.” The one from today looks quite different. It’s more long and thin, pink, and looks like it has little blisters on it. I should add that on both occasions the pics were taken on my phone with 6 or 7 times magnification. It’s not this big! It just looks like a pinky/red oval spot with the naked eye. I should also add that the barely visible darkish dot at about 1 o’ clock and 7 o’clock on the pic marked 24/7 is actually pen from when I got frustrated at trying to measure it! Looking at the two pictures that are two weeks apart, I feel it looks like it might be healing - but I’m also worried about how it’s changed shape (and the healing element might be false because of the different light in which they were taken). You just can’t win!

At least you are seeing your GP on Monday. So not long now. I’m certainly no skin cancer expert that’s for sure. I’ve been almost allergic to the sun since my late teens so always cover up. Since PsA, the heat levels we’re experiencing this week and for the whole week have me living in a cave! :rofl:I literally start to blow up like the Michelin man! A very grumpy one too.

I remember during the time I was on Benepali (biosimilar to enbrel for those of you stateside) it went from completely not painful to horribly painful. Certainly that’s all to do with the added agents in it to preserve it or whatever.

@Amos of course you’re 100% right about carbon monoxide versus actual gas leak. Two entirely different things! Thankfully there is no gas connection in my house, I live too rurally.

1 Like

Thanks. I’ve managed to get a GP cancellation for tomorrow afternoon, which hopefully will put some of my worries to bed.

2 Likes

Ok, so been to GP. He’s not 100% sure, but thinks it’s more likely to be enflamed or infected skin than a basal cell. He asked me to send my photos of my leg to him to go on my record, and wants me to keep taking them so any change can be spotted. He’s also given me some cream to try (which, of course, is unavailable due to “manufacturing issues.”). If there’s no changes i need to go back in a few weeks so i can be referred to dermotology to be on the safe side. If it grows or changes in the meantime, i must go back straight away. If it goes, then no need to go back at all. He’s pretty certain its not a melanoma, which is the main thing. He also said referrals to dermatology are quick where we live.

1 Like

Excellent outcome but for the inflamed or infected skin bit. Have you looked at online pharmacies (but be careful) for the cream? Just an idea and do try more than one chemist in your area too. Do a phone around of all of them.

The doctor is going to prescribe something different. I should be happy that he doesn’t think it’s a cancer, but you know when you have that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that something’s up? To be fair, i seem to constantly have it, these days - the wonders of bipolar gnawing at my brain. But its Mum’s 89th birthday today (Friday) so need to forget about lumps on legs for the weekend.

It’s not just bi-polar brains that can think like that - believe me. It’s normal for all of us however differently any of our brains might work. You’re too hard on yourself. Hope your Mum has a fabulous 89th birthday too! The weather is still going to be sunny but much cooler which should make it even better. :smiley:

1 Like

A unrelated but everyone wants to know question…In the UK, moms are called “mums”…does that set a precedent that dads are “duds”? So confused…again!

Ahh you’re not quite right there. In parts of the UK they are called ‘Mum’, in other parts of the UK they are called ‘Mam’ and some poor children might even have to call her ‘Ma’. However they are never called ‘Mom’. :grin:

In the UK it tends to be just ‘Dad’ for fathers. Again some poor children might even have to call him ‘Pa’.

1 Like

Hi all. I just wanted to report back and say that the strong steroid cream prescribed by the GP has got rid of whatever it was on my leg - presumably meaning it wasn’t a skin cancer after all. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the thread. :slight_smile:

3 Likes