Comfort About Basil Cell Skin Cancer

Updated on September 28, 2011
J.O. asks from Ogden, UT
17 answers

Hi we recently found out my husband has basil cell skin cancer on his nose. He is scheduled to have it removed on May 20th. They are going to use only local anesticia and remove only the smallest amount they need to. They told us to plan on 6-7 hours to be at the office, because right after they remove it, they test it to make sure they removed everything and if not they go back and remove more. I done research on the internet, and I have found basil cell is very treatable and rarely spreads. I am still on the end of my nerves. It scares me. Has anyone experienced this and what do I need to expect. To make matters worse, my in-laws want to come and sit in the office with me. (they live about 3 hours away) I don't want them there, but they don't care what we want. I also have a 1 year old son who they want to babysit, and I don't trust him with them. I am way stressed over the entire situation and I don't want to be worry about my son at the same time.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

First, I want to thank everyone to open their hearts and share their experiences. I was greatly comforted. I was still a little nervous, but felt peace and hope. My husband decieded he did not want his parents at the doctors, so after many agruments between them, they agreed not to go. I was really uncomfortable with leaving them alone with my son, so it worked out that they watched him at my husband's grandparents house. It was only a couple miles away from the doctor's office. They were happy cuz they got to watch them, and I was happy cuz there was someone else there I trusted, and it was only a little ways away if he needed something. We arrived at the doctors office and waited about 1 hour and a half before he even started the surgey. My husband said it didn't hurt at all except the shot to numb it. Then we had to sit and wait...and wait..and wait about 2 hours later they had the lab results back and they had got all the cancer the first time. I was sooo greatful to hear those words. Because they didn't need to go very deep the doctor gave him the option to let the wound heal on its own or do reconstruction to cover the hole. After weighing all the options, we decided to let it heal on its own. Its only been a few days, but I feel a huge relief to have the day over. So now we just watching it and keeping it clean.. and joking about the hole on his nose. Thank you to everyone.

More Answers



answers from Billings on

My mom has had many basil cells removed from her body, including her face. It was generally done under a local and in the office for only a few minutes. She gets checked once a year and it doing just fine.
As far a s the in laws. They are his parents right? Think of it this way - Well, after 10 years of marriage, I still don't like the company of my in-laws, BUT they have a right to be concerned and be around, it is Their son - I think you would want to be there if it was your kids, no matter how old they were, right? I also have two boys wich I hesitate to leave in my in-laws care. But I have found just because we do things totally different they would NEVER intentional hurt their grandchildren. I truly believe one has to pick their battles. I do not budge when it comes to safety (must used car seat, even at ranch, no soda ect.) but I have learned even though they might play differently with them, sneak them a cookie before lunch or run crazily around the house, they still love their grandchildren and I have to let them love them in their way - with my boundaries AND my compromises. Does any of this make sense? When we got married - I was 20 y/o and he was a 20 y/o mamma's boy and I told him if it came to choosing his mom or me I would leave....because I would not want to have to be the one to choose between my so called "love" and my mother - a relationaship should never be that way - its not healthy especalliy with kids involved. After 10 years of picking my battles, my in laws still drive me nuts, but we have both learned to tolerate each other and pick our battles. Good luck with the basil cell removal and I hope this encouragement helps and the in-lawas are not going anywhereso, maybe learn to pick your battles and they will learn to respect that and you if you make it clear what you will not budge on for your kids and be consistant and good reasoning as to why you won't budge.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am sorry to here this but I also have heard it is very treatable. I was told I also have basil cell I found out over a month ago I have yet to do anything about it as I don't have health ins and it is very expansive but what bothers me the most is that my husband isn't the least bit concerned about it, He acts as though hr doesn't care and that bothers me more then anything.Good luck with everything and keep praying and everything will work out what he needs is to know that you love and care about him and I am sure he knows it. GOOD LUCK.:,)



answers from Denver on

Hi, I've been married to my husband for almost 23 years and he has had unfortunatly much experience with these kinds of skin surgeries. It can be uncomfortable, but you really have to understand that this is what we do to take good care of ourselves. LOTS of SUNSCREEN and HATS and LONGSLEEVE SHIRTS when going outside. My hubbie was a California body surfer and worked in construction without a shirt all in the 60s and 70s when ignorance of sundanger was high....Anywhoooo, you need to be a rock for your husband and son, I would have a stroller and plan on walking all around the medical complex where ever it may be. Your husband will be in good hands and you just need to let the medical staff know where you are so they can sign your husband out to you. As for your parents, ask your husband what he wants. The surgery is not life/death that would require your inlaws to be present. Maybe there's a park nearby for some grandparent time with your son. Most folks have a cell phone handy for communication with the staff. That way you guys can be more relaxed.



answers from Boise on

I think that this is the time to put reservations aside and let the in-laws help, this is their son as much as he is your husband and put yourself in their shoes for a second and imagine that it is your baby who is going through this, know that whatever there faults are that they most likely love all of you and are only trying to help. Having said that you need to be there for your husband, my BF's dad went through this 2 years ago and he is just fine he does see the dermatologist every year to see if there are any more areas of concern and so far so good, another friend had the samething on her nose and 1 year out she is fine, like you said he has the eaiest and most treatable form of it. I hope things work out for you and your family!!!!!! Good luck!



answers from Denver on

I know exactly what you are going through. I remember when my husband had his first surgery, I was very worried as you are. My husband has had 4 of these same surgeries and he just turned 38. Like you said they make sure they run tests to ensure they got all of the cancer or possible cancer. My husband has had to have up to 6 stitches on one of his removals and they all healed very nicely. Some were on his nose and some were on his face between his nose and and cheek area. The dermatologist did a great job. The surgery only lasted about 1-2 hours and that included the time they ran the test. They keep them there in the chair until they are certain no cancer cells are left. Depending on the lab, it may take longer where you are at. 6-7 hours is pretty long.

Unfortunately, my husband is Swedish so the fair skin and a family history of basil cells make him a prime candidate to get these. They say the damage is already done when he was very young...must have been the baby oil his mother smeared on him, who knew of SPF! I have two kids and we still lather up everyone in 50 SPF, even my husband.

I would take your son with you and plan for the 6-7 hours, but I am betting it will take a lot less time then that. Do you have a close friend who can come with you and take your son out of the office and take some walks around the hallways to help you out? You don't need any more stress and by the sounds of it your in-laws are already stressing you out and they aren't even here.

Please let me know if you want to talk more about this. Send me an email.



answers from Pocatello on

Re: your inlaws-- I think you can use this to your advantage. You aren't comfortable with them babysitting, and want to be present for your husband and you have a baby. So let them come, express that they are welcome to be in the waiting room (or whatever) and when you need to put on your mom hat, they can "have a turn" with your husband. You get to keep your baby, you have the opportunity of stepping out and being mom when needed, and your husband will still have company. If I were the grandparent and lived three hours away, I would want to be present for my grown child's procedure. That's a tough one!



answers from Colorado Springs on

Hi J.. I had basal cell skin cancer removed from my cheek a couple of years ago. It is quite scary any time you hear the word cancer. I had MOHS surgery, which may be what your husband is having. It is the best way to preserve the most healthy tissue around the uninfected cells. That is why they take the time to check the cells immediately after removal and then go back to take another layer if necessary. Luckily, my Dr. was able to remove the perfect amount of cells in the first round. It is pretty uneventful and boring! You do not feel any pain during the procedure and afterward your Dr. will prescribe you pain medication to help with the discomfort. I really did not need to take my prescription pain meds and only used Motrin afterward. If your husband has been diagnosed with skin cancer now, he just needs to be more careful in the future with sun protection. I feel that basal cell is a wake up call. It is an opportunity to take better care of your skin by using sunscreen, even when you aren't going to be outside very long, and even if it doesn't seem very sunny out. My Dr. took very special care in determining how he would remove the cells and place the stitches to insure the least amount of scarring. Now, you can barely see the scar. As far as your in-laws are concerned, you may want to let them know that the waiting room isn't very big and in my case they put a loose bandage over my face, while they checked the cells, and I was able to wait in the waiting room with my husband until I got the all clear to get stitched up. Most Dr.s have surgery days where they are doing the procedure on more then one patient at a time while they wait for results. The other patients families will be crowded in the waiting room as well as patients waiting for results. Try to relax and bring a book to read! As long as he protects himself in the future you have nothing to worry about.



answers from Missoula on

Basel Cell growths are something that my husband has removed from his head nearly every year! (Too little hair and not enough hat-wearing!) It is nothing to worry about. There will, no doubt, be times in future years when there are serious enough health issues so you can sit in a doctor's office for hours awaiting results. This isn't one of those times! You should stay home with your child and your in-laws should stay home, their home. Plan a time when they can come visit for 3 days and you can be prepared to supervise their time with your child.



answers from San Angelo on

Sorry about your husband and I hope he stays well. I am sorrier for HIS PARENTS that they have you as a daughter-in-law! Unless they are duggies, drunks, child beaters or molesters there is something seriously rong with your reaction to them and their grandchild and even more so with their son! I bet your husband did help his parents decide to not go wait with you after several arguments back and forth.They could not very well wait with you and baby sit. It seems to me that you are being very inconsiderate of your husband having loving parents, ( parents who don't love their chidren, don't sit and wait at Dr's offices) and you are inconsiderate of your husband by making him part of your schemes to keep them away. You must remember that old univesal rule of what goes around comes around and you to will be a mother-in-law one day and a grandparent. May they be kinder to you than you deserve. I have two daughters-in-law and neither would be so cruel and selfish. And I would not need to ask to be with them, they would be calling me and asking for my presence or to child sit. I just am blown away. Your husband has cancer and you don't want his parents support but worse yet, you don't want HIM to have their support. Un-thinkable.


I have squamious skin cancer on my nose and basil on both shoulders. I will be having them removed very soon.I have fought and won cervical cancer and colon cancer and other very serious health battles. I had a basil cancer ( mole ) removed years back and it was less than an hour procedure, and they called me the results. They took enough of the edges they weren't concerned that they needed more. However, even if I had to of been there many hours I would not have been stressed. Your husband may or may not be stressed over the cancer but I can see you gave more " stress remarks," over the in-laws- and their son and your and your husband's baby( their grandchild) than you did him. And that angered me. Civility is not costly. It just shocks me at the gaul of this generation to be so un-civil with the in-laws. They are family. Do you treat your family with the same rudeness? I am going to try to forget I even read this post. It's hard for me to be civil to a young wife who is so cold. God Bless your husband.



answers from Denver on

I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I am sure it will all be fine and a simple procedure. 6 hours is a long time for a 1 year old, do you have a babysitter to watch him?
I can understand your inlaws wanting to come, first it is their child, your husband. Secondly they are just trying to help. You may be stressed but think outside the box on how you would feel if your son was older and going through this. You would want to be there and feel helpful. If they are not able to truly care for your son, then letting them just come isn't or shouldn't be an issue. Tell them you already have arrangements for your son and thank them for the offer.
Sometimes when we are so stressed we don't think how others may feel and want to take it all on ourselves, there is nothing wrong with wanting or needing company or comfort during this time either.
Think on why you don't trust them and if you are being truly realistic with it. I mean a one year old isn't hard to care for and you can have instructions for them. They are the grandparents and of course will be attentive and loving moreso then an outsider of the family I would think.
Just breathe, be strong and know you are okay to ask for help and deserve to have it.



answers from Salt Lake City on

When it comes to cancer I believe you have to do what you feel is best and not try to please other people. Understandably this is a very scary time for you and you should do whatever you can to make the process easier for you. Of course your inlaws are concerned about their son, as we would be about our children, but added stress at this time is not in any way helpful. It seems that they could be told (preferrably by your husband, so they don't blame you) that it would be best if they weren't there, but that you would keep them updated about the process. As for who you leave your son with, that is totally up to you. Just make other arrangements and then thank them for their willingness to help. There are times to work on building inlaw relationships, but in my book this isn't one of them. Your husband and you come first.



answers from Denver on

Hi J.,

So sorry you're so stressed! If it helps, I've had the same procedure. Seems like once I hit 30, they started popping up. I've had more than one. I FREAKED at first, but as some time has passed, and as you point out it is very treatable, I am pretty o.k. now. The procedure itself is nothing. He'll likely get a numbing shot, which is the worst part, and not that big of a deal (though his nose might be a bit more sensitive). He won't feel a thing after that. Later in the day he may be a little sore, but nothing more than if you scraped your knee or something. They usually say to not let the area dry out, so keep it covered with vaseline or whatever they recommend. That's it. After that, I just recommend being checked out as often as they suggest. I go every 6 months. Keeping on top of it will hopefully keep you both calm.

As far as your in-laws, yikes. I would say bring lots of books or magazines to keep you busy if they do sit with you. And as far as babysitting, I would recommend having a play date pre-arranged so it's a non-issue if possible. If it's not possible or they insist, just simply say with all the stress you're under you just can't handle one more thing, and that you stress when you're away from your son. This way it has nothing to do with them personally, it's all about you. I have the same issue with my in-laws and I've never told them I just don't trust them. It's always that I just have a hard time being away from my daughter. Of course I get lectures about how unhealthy that is, but whatever, it solved my problem.

Best of luck to you and your husband. BTW, I've eliminated the word cancer from the title when I think of my basal cells. Hard not to be scared of that word, so I don't use it!



answers from Cheyenne on

Yes, I have dealt with this before. My father had this on his ear three times. It is easily removable, it is all tyold with testing and all fairly quick. I'm sorry your in laws are stressing you out, no advice there. But you and your husband will make it through this. Anytime the doctors toss around the word cancer you are automatically terrified.
It is one of the easier things to get rid off, you are in my thoughts and prayers.



answers from Colorado Springs on

I am sorry to hear you are going through this. Find a babysitter you are happy with so that is off your mind. He is your son, so they can't bully you into doing something you are not comforatble with. If you in-laws insist on being there... I don't know how you would stop them since it is their son. Ask a good friend to come with you and be willing to take short breaks ( walks outside, a breif lunch). This will allow you time to breathe.

My dad has this kind of cancer on his back. The recovery can be very sore. So you might want to prep things around the house for him to have some down time. (Another good excuse for the in-laws to come for a later visit).

I hope he heals quickly!



answers from Grand Junction on

Hi J.,

Your husband will be fine. My husband has had the procedure, not on his nose but on the top of his head. He had the cancer removed and he is fine. Not even a scar on his cute bald spot. It just sort of blends in with his wrinkles.
I also went with my friend, Julie, in Tucson, AZ to have the procedure done on the side of her face. It did take hours because the doctor has to check and make sure all of the cancer cells are gone. Julie is fine and through the two experiences, I have learned to nag my husband about sun screen and Julie wears sun screen and a hat in the hot summers of Arizona.
The issue about your in-laws is a more sensitive one. I am a Grandma and a mother-in-law. I would suggest, if they want to take care of your son, let them do it at home and have a friend or neighbor just happen to drop in to make sure Grandma and Grandpa are okay and your little guy, is okay, while you are at the doctor's office. There will probably be lots of other patients who are waiting for their own procedures and this is not the place to have your son for hours. You can call and make sure all is well at home and give them an update about how their son is doing. They will appreciate it.
Your husband will be fine. Your baby boy will be fine and you will get through this. You sound like a wonderful wife and mother. Cancer is a scary thing. My husband has fair skin and we grew up in the age of "trying to get a summer tan." Make sure your son has baby sun screen as he grows up. I always have it for my grandkids.
Good luck and it will be okay. You are stronger than you think you are. My thoughts will be with you.



answers from Denver on

Take a deep breath!!Early detection is your God send.The fact that they remove partial & test right there is very good.Between my husband & myself we have probably had 25+ removed (both freckled & history of sunburns).It isn't that huge of a situation in this day & age (thank God!), so I wouldn't make it such an ordeal as to have them drive 3 hrs. to sit & wait.If results came back he is right there to continue w/ furhter removal, otherwise he is out of there w/ a band-aid & a dab of Neosporine!It is a serios matter but I want to assure you that the medical field has advanced remarkabley since I had my first one removed in 1985 (I'm 46 now & have also had a melanoma diagnosis w/ complete removal in office, no chemo!!!).We go every 6 mths. & both of us expect to return w/ 1+ spots that have been carved off for testing (I HATE that part too!!).Waiting it out in the office is so much better than waiting 2 wks. for lab results if they find a problem.It is scary, but I hope to lesson to amount of additional stress you all are adding to what has become an awesome preventive & or early treatment of what used to be so deadly.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Try not to worry - basal cell skin cancer is fairly common and very treatable. They should be able to do the removal quickly and easily. My father, grandfather and father-in-law have had several burned off in the office. I've actually had a melanoma myself - that was over 15 yrs. ago. Even for my melanoma they did an outpatient surgery to "scoop" it all out - I didn't have to do radiation or chemo, etc. Keep your chin up!

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