A few days before leaving for Sao Paulo, Diane Lima, a 27-year-old woman, decided to get a facelift. Little did she know that a procedure to clean her pores and reduce facial fat would help her diagnose skin cancer.
Lima says she regularly gets facials and has scheduled the procedure again in mid-2022 with an esthetician from her hometown of Erechim. However, after the procedure, she says she noticed that the area near her nose was softer.
WATCH: A powerful El Niño phenomenon is brewing: “Inexplicable” warming of oceans that warns scientists
“A few days later, there was a small bruise, but I assumed it was because I had removed a blackhead or something, and I started using healing ointment,” he recalls.
Lima, who worked on the drill, described it in the following weeks The wound healed, but then did not completely disappear. It stayed that way for over a month.. And it was only after bleeding that he became aware of the injury.
“I woke up and my nose was bleeding profusely. That’s when I decided to make an appointment with a dermatologist,” she says.
Because she had no health insurance, the self-employed young woman had to use her savings to go to private counselling. When it was on the first visit to the doctor Suspicion arose that a sore on the nose that did not heal could actually be skin cancer.
“When the doctor talked about this possibility, I burst into tears, you think about a thousand things, because I was young, there was no skin cancer in the family, I never imagined that this would happen to me. My world fell apart. Except for that moment”, the young woman said. says
The biopsy results confirmed that Lima had basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, and needed surgery to remove it.
He underwent surgery last January to remove a section of skin from his face to remove the tumor. He needed 27 stitches and was out for two months. The diagnosis postponed the young woman’s last semester of her history degree.
“My life changed completely from one day to the next. It’s not just about the diagnosis, it’s about all the consequences it has. “Besides disabling university and work, there’s also the question of how it affects self-esteem, especially since my cancer is on my face, a very visible place,” she says.
In addition to the scar on the skin, Lima said, the cancer also caused bouts of anxiety and depression.
“My self-esteem is gone, I can’t look at myself in the mirror, I avoid going out, everyone asks me what I did and why I have the scar. I didn’t leave the house for long because I didn’t want to be seen. Not to mention people telling me offensive jokes like calling me fat. They don’t know why my body is the way it is,” she says, adding that the drugs made her gain weight.
What is basal cell carcinoma?
According to Brazil’s National Cancer Institute (Inca), basal cell carcinoma is a non-melanoma skin cancer that accounts for 80% of diagnoses. It originates from the basal cells of the epidermis and occurs mainly A sore (lesion or nodule) with pink, translucent, or pearly edges that won’t heal and may ulcerate and bleed.
“It is a skin cancer that is considered the most benign of all tumors, because it never sends tumor cells to other organs. It only occurs when the treatment takes too long and the tumor is aggressive, invading the bone, for example. However, this is rare,” said the Cerro-Libanus Hospital in São Paulo. Renaldo Tovo, coordinator of the Department of Dermatology, explains.
A major risk factor for basal cell carcinoma is direct sun exposure. Light-skinned people are more susceptible to this disease, which usually appears after the age of 40 and occurs in areas of the body directly exposed to UV radiation, for example, the face, neck, back and chest. The disease affects men more than women, and is rare in children, adolescents, and black people.
“The main risk factor is prolonged exposure to the sun, especially during childhood and adolescence. The sun is a compound, and the more sun one gets over a lifetime, the more likely they are to develop cancer. Skin in adulthood. People with fair skin, those who turn red rather than dark when exposed to sunlight, are more likely to develop skin cancer,” says Vanessa D’Andreta Tanaka, dermatologist at D’Amore Hospital in Barretos (Sao Paulo. )).
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis is usually clinical. A dermatologist evaluates skin lesions and, if in doubt, can perform a skin disease, which consists of placing a lens over the lesion to perform a detailed analysis. A biopsy is performed to confirm the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma.
The standard treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer is surgery., this procedure allows greater control of tumor margins, thus providing a greater guarantee of cure. The goal of surgery is to completely remove the wound and surrounding tissue as a margin of safety.
“This type of surgery is generally very safe.Because most lesions are usually in the early stages, with a low risk of metastasis,” says Thiago Kenji, technical director of TASA Oncology at Santa Paula Hospital in São Paulo.
A few precautions like a good diet, not drinking alcoholic beverages, avoiding tobacco and above all not getting too much exposure to sunlight can help prevent skin cancer.
“People should use sunscreen on all exposed areas “And the filter should be suitable for the skin type, whether it’s young or mature, oily or acne-prone,” says Tovo.
It is also important to protect yourself by wearing sun protective clothing and accessories such as t-shirts, hats and caps. If one cannot afford these items, casual clothing and accessories can help protect the skin as long as they cover the area completely.