How to say "skin" in French + visit to the dermatologist

les betises sign signage typeography balcony French
We'll go ahead and use this photo (for its calligraphie) to illustrate today's story, which might as well be titled "Les Bêtises de La Peau" or "Skin Stupidity". Read on... and cover up with sun screen!

la peau (poh)

    : skin

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc Download MP3 or Wav

Protégez votre peau du soleil. Mettez un écran solaire.
Protect your skin. Apply sun screen.

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Skin Sins

It looked like a blemish... only it didn't go away. On studying the spot on my forehead, I wondered whether it was a scar--one I had somehow overlooked? Only, I couldn't remember running head first into anything recently.... Besides, I would have remembered the bleeding, the bandaging, and the scabbing (not to mention the embarrassment).

After prodding and poking at the bump, to no avail (I guessed it wasn't acne...), I decided it must be an age spot--a pearly one at that. At the age of 43, I seem to be manufacturing them! There is one above my right eyebrow... and another is coming into view over my left sourcil. Only those spots are the color of age-spots: brown. Did age spots come in other colors and thicknesses?

When the flesh-tone spot in the center of my forehead began to grow (it was growing, wasn't it?) I began to have doubts and, one weekend last month, I threw all of my worry energies together in time to make an appointment chez le dermatologue.

Only problem was: in August, in the South of France, all dermatologists are on the sunny beaches of Costa Brava (just kidding--in truth, I do not know where skin doctors vacation in summertime, but they do vacation, and, therefore, it was difficult finding someone to diagnose the worrisome growth).

I would have to wait three weeks to see a skin specialist in Orange. On my way to his office, I kept forgetting things: where I put my wallet, especially. I managed to misplace it three times that week, whereas I'd never before lost my porte-monnaie. If I am absent-minded by nature, this head-in-the-clouds tendance became epidemic the week of my appointment.

The dermatologist's office is located in an historical hôtel particulier. Stepping past the sky-high iron gate, I peered around the cobbled courtyard. It looked bleak (no swayback benches, no giant pots with trailing flowers), but then it occurred to me: what busy dermatologue had time to sit or to water plants? I decided this was a good sign and stepped over the threshold.

Inside, the only other patient in the sterile waiting room sat reading Voici (France's version of People Magazine). The woman had a big bandage on her ankle. I wondered what skin-related malady had befallen her? 

After checking in, I waited beside the woman with the ankle bandage, and as I read the cover of her magazine, I overheard voices in the next room:

"Je vous ai fait un rendez-vous chez le chirurgien plasticien. I've made an appointment for you at the plastic surgeon's...the secretary was saying to the young woman who had just seen the doctor.

When it was my turn to be examined, the diagnoses came almost as soon as I arrived at the examination table. No magnifying glass was needed, no special flashlight. The only instrument the doctor used was a great blue magic marker. 

Doc used the thick blueberry-colored marker to draw a circle around the mysterious growth, highlighting the area that would need to be excised. Next, he handed me a mirror.

I stared at the spot on my forehead, which appeared even bigger than before. "C'est un carcinome baso-cellulaire." "It's basal cell carcinoma," the doctor explained.

Still starring into the hand mirror, I saw my glassy eyes flanked by mascarad wings, which blinked. 

The doctor assured me: "It is the most common type of skin cancer: nonmelanoma. I diagnose at least one case per week. A lot of farmers around here get it. (I thought of my husband, Chief Grape, who had already had an 8-inch chunk of flesh taken out of his back, some 15-years-ago. He would need to be reexamined!) 

If left untreated, the doctor explained, the cells would keep on growing. But I would probably die of old age, he assured me, before I would die of this type of skin cancer. "That said, basal cell carcinoma is malignant and can spread to the bone, in which case it is best to remove the growth."

The doctor washed off the blue mark from my forehead and scribbled a note to a colleague, a visceral and digestive surgeon, just up the street at the Clinique de Provence.

I wondered whether I shouldn't travel farther, to have some sort of specialist remove the facial growth?But when I voiced my concern, the doctor chuckled: "No need to send you to China to have some cells removed!"

 I laughed, too. True, it was no use complicating the matter. First things first, get the growth removed! And no time to dally, for a second growth appeared last month, piggy-backing the first.


Post note: I was uneasy about the idea of a visceral-digestive surgeon cutting and sewing my forehead! Wouldn't a plastic surgeon be a better choice? For days I debated the doctor's recommendation. And then I said a prayer and asked for peace of mind about my decision... and that is when the answer came to me, clear as day: "visceral" means "organ" -- and isn't skin the biggest organ we have? Therefore an organ and digestive doctor would seem to be the right match! I'll see the doctor this Tuesday, which is also la rentrée, or back-to-school for our kids.

 Le Coin Commentaires
Statistics show that 3 out of 10 light-skinned persons may develop basal cell carcinoma in their lifetime. It is the most common form of skin cancer. Share your "sun sins"--experiences, stories, and knowledge-- here, in the comments box--and help spread awareness of this preventable disease. 

 Update: Read about my visit to the surgeon's... where I learn that a gut doctor has been recommended to remove the facial growths... Click here

A picture of the spot:
You can see the spot on my forehead in a picture I posted last month. Click on the following link and look for the first picture (with the pink scarf) in this story column (then click on the picture to enlarge it). The pea-size, flesh-tone spot is in the center of my forehead, one or so inches below my hairline:


French Vocabulary

le sourcil = eyebrow

la tendance = tendency

le porte-monnaie = wallet

un hôtel particulier = private mansion

Capture plein écran 16052011 092531

The classic Bescherelle, the complete guide to French verb conjugation. Read the five-star reviews, and order, here.



trompe l oeil wall painting france

This Frenchman has the right idea: wear a hat! Photo of the trompe-l'oeil taken in 2009, in Pourrières.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Good for you to jump on checking it out. Keep it up! We had a friend notice a spot on my husband's back and the doctors told us we need to send her flowers on that anniversary each year for saving my husband's life!! It was the bad kind but was taken care of here in France very well and we just keep checking for any more...


Kristin, you did the right thing by not ignoring it. I've had so many basal cells removed that I've lost count. The good thing that came from them is that I see a dermatologist twice a year, faithfully. My 27-year old daughter just had her first one removed (no doubt from a very bad sunburn she got as a child - in upstate NY). You can't be too careful with the sun. Tanned bodies look beautiful, but it's not worth it!

Dottie Bennett

Bonjour, Kristen!

I had a basal cell carcinoma in my eyebrow! Who would think of putting sunscreen in their eyebrow?! Certainly not me! But now I do! My dad has had lots of little skin cancers removed, so I know now that I need to be checked every year. Since my dad recently turned 95, I think my prognosis is good. I just need to be attentive!


My mom had a spot on her back, that she couldn't see. By the time she saw it accidentally in the mirror, it was too late. The diagnosis was stage 4 melanoma. We buried her in June. She had a wonderful life and it could have been longer too. So look out especially for elderly family members who live alone.
Thank you Kristen for sharing your story.


Take good care, Kristin. Tuesday will be an emotional day, but you have the tools and support you need, I think. Sending a big hug your way, and a caring pat on the back for your diligence and courage.

Tim Averill

Growing up in Kansas, I had many great sunburns in my youth. Now they have come to roost in basal cell carcinomas (5) for which I have had Mohs surgery in Boston. I just have to watch for them, Make kids wear sunscreen and hats!

Bill in St. Paul

My wife noticed a mole on my back that didn't look right. It turned out to be a melanoma but luckily it was in situ which the surgeon explained meant that the melanoma was totally removed and had not gone beyond the mole. I've had a couple of basal cell carcinomas removed, too, now that I get a yearly skin check up by my dermatologist (a doctor of French-Canadian descent). My only complaint about my dermatologist is his use of the liquid nitrogen to "burn" off any suspicious areas of skin of which he always manages to find at least two - I have to plan my appointments so that I have at least three days afterwards free of any social engagements so these little freezings can heal and stop "weeping".

Antoinette in Virginia

About 9 years ago I had a spot on my upper lip that kept scabbing and healing and when I was at my dentist I mentioned it to him. He told his hygienist to go get a scalpel and so she did. When she came back he said "Oh, I was just kidding, this is nothing." Well, I went to my dermatologist and it was in fact basal cell carcinoma. Needless to say I do not see that dentist anymore, but I did be sure to tell him what it was and that I did not appreciate his humor!

Maureen Winterhager

....huh, we all seem to have them. I'm treating one now! As we speak so to say. Our dermo took a biopsy, which came back positive - basal cell carcinoma. Not surprised: growing up with Irish skin in Australia, I had horrific sunburns as a kid. The only cream they had then was a zinc paste.....Anyway we're treating this with a cream that burns it away. Light therapy would be next - IF the cream doesn't do the job deeply enough! And failing all else, they'll have to remove my nostril! Hoping NOT! Then I'll be needing a chirurgien plasticien for sure!!


Along with everyone else above, I can assure, you we have all had these! I go every three months now: there's always some annoying new "growth". But yes, almost all are benign. Have had Mohs twice on my face. Those of us with blond hair and blue eyes have to be especially careful. Sun screen every day!!!

Jane Le Maux

I had one under my eye done mid-July here in France - several years after my UK doctor told me it was just an enlarged pore. I was told I would need a general and stay overnight - decided I wouldn't stay and they could do it with a local (which they did and all was fine) but found out that as a result my top-up insurance wouldn't pay out!

lou bogue

Yes you did the right thing and having it removed is very necessary, I had my second one done 3 months ago, both on the same spot, the temple right above the ears, how the sun got to them is a mystery, when I live in the sun and have skin like leather, this last one was something you will see when i come to see you next month, the Dr.did a good job but the blood was hard to stop and the nurses had to bandage my head up and I had to keep it on for 24 hours, I looked like the old mummy in the movies, you will get a good laugh when you see the pic on my camera but no big deal, you will be fine and no scar, Bonne chance LOU


My dermatologist also uses liquid nitrogen to burn off "barnacles," as one previous dermatologist called them. I don't mind at all. It's a fast and easy way to get rid of suspicious spots, and it heals up without a scar. Being very fair, I burn easily, so I don't spend a lot of time out in the midday sun. Even sunscreen is not enough protection.

Johanna DeMay

Bonjour Kristin,

And welcome to the club! My husband has had any number of little basal cell growths burned off his face, and a few years back I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my leg. I now wear hats, long sleeves and sunscreen.

Your friends everywhere are so glad you are taking care of this! We'll be thinking of you.

Be well, and don't worry!



The best way to have these treated is with Moh's surgery performed preferably by a Dermatopathologist. Second best is to have a plastic surgeon remove it, particularly if it's on your face. I would not allow a General Surgeon to remove a growth from my face. The benefit of using the Moh's procedure is they examine each level as it's removed and thereby ensure that it is all taken. Using freezing or other methods to "burn" these cancers off will leave scars and you have no proof the entire lesion was removed. Some skin cancers have a tendency to burrow underneath normal skin cells, so Moh's is the only method that can assure complete removal. My Mother had a huge scar on her face from having a Basal Cell Carcinoma frozen off. Years later it began to look different and she had to have the scar surgically removed. Skin cancer screenings should be performed on every patient by their primary care physician at least yearly. If your doctor doesn't do this, ask, or consider finding another doctor. Encourage your local hospital to offer an annual skin cancer screening to the community, or call the American Cancer Society (if you live in the US) to find a facility that hosts these in your area. American College of Surgeon's Approved Cancer Programs usually are required to host at least 2 cancer screenings per year. Call the closest Approved facility and ask what they screen for?
Kristin, you can attend your appointment with the surgeon, but ask him what your options are and see if he can refer you to a plastic surgeon or dermatopathologist for removal of this lesion. General Surgeons do not always use the most finicky technique and their concern for leaving scars is minimal.


Hopefully, Kristin, you are feeling quite encouraged by all the comments; I'll just add that my next door neighbor has had the same problem over the years and has found it completely treatable. Tomorrow she's taking off from here in Yorkshire to Paris, and then bicycling to Provence. She is in her sixties.

I'm still busy reading all the many things to read here. I'll just add today that the picture of Colmar brought back many happy memories of several holidays in Eguisheim, one of the lovliest wine villages in France right next door to Colmar a really beautiful town - and I also love the wines of Alsace!

Thanks again JolleyG for the intro.

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

I already knew I was a candidate because I have the fair skin of my grandmother and everything else about me (looks, height, etc.) is just like her. I remember the bandages on her face where she had the cancerous cells removed. I went to the dermatologist originally for something else, but she found the spot on my nose. So now I go every year, and of course, have SPF in all my makeup and use the sunscreen if I'm doing anything more than walking the dog around the block. On the other hand, my grandmother lived to 96, so I hope I'm like her in that way, too.

By the way, I've noticed when in France the past couple of years that the parents are almost fanatic about hats and sunglasses for their kids where I stay. Every little kid I see in the summer has on some kind of hat. Hope they also remember the sunscreen.


I think I have told every person I know! my basal cell on my nose was not a raised bump, it did not look like a was very innocuous...just a scalely spot the size of a pea on the side of my nose. If I dried roughly with a tery towel it would bleed.

My surgeon, who did Mohs - only on noses, had to go two layers deep. Although my face was horribly swollen, with two black eyes, after the surgery, today (1 year later), you would have to look very close to see a scar. I did have 1 laser treatment to reduce the scar weeks later.

So, Kristin, know that you will heal and it won't even be noticeable soon!
Sunscreen will be your best friend! I get mine from my dermatologist. It is zinc based, the only product that doesn't irritate my eyes and skin.


You have done the right thing, Kristen. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous carcinoma are both non-melanoma cancers and appear after many years of exposure. Both are curable when treated early.

My doctor referred me to the Dermatology Department in June when a small lump appeared on my forehead, a few inches above my right eye. The Dermatologist excised the lump under a local anaesthetic and sent it for a biopsy which showed that it was squamous cell carcinoma. The Dermatology Department's policy is to excise a suspicious looking object before waiting for a biopsy result, since time is important.

I had quite a large number of stitches; those under the skin were soluble but the large outer one (a blanket stitch) had to be removed a week later. The resultant 'scar' is barely visible; the Dermatologist did a good job. The bleeding mentioned by Lou occurs only if you are on an anti-coagulant.

I have to report to the Dermatology Department every 3 months for the next year and check the lymph nodes in my head and neck at least once a month.

But the main thing to learn from this is to get any suspicious 'things' checked without delay.

It's ironic in my case because I have never been a 'sun worshipper', and wear a hat when I am gardening. But the Dermatologist said it was due to my having fair skin, blue eyes, and to long-term exposure to sunlight over a lifetime. She also advised me to start wearing a hat all the time when I'm outside. [Does anyone have any suggestions for hats for someone like me, a 'mature' chap, who doesn't like hats, and does not wish to appear as a poseur?!!]

But don't worry, Kristen. You have definitely done the right thing and caught this early. Courage!


Kristin....good luck on Tues. All the notes you have received should be encouraging, but the concern you have for "your" spot cannot be minimized. have a big fan club out here thinking of you and wishing you all the best!

BAFA Studio

Kristin: As you might remember, I am an artist so finding out that this 'thing' right next to the tear duct of my right eye had me praying heartily. Being blessed, went to UCLA, had it removed like Bonnie, via MOHS. Thanked God as we walked directly across the street to the Jules Stein Eye Institute that there were only 2 scrapings as the 3rd would have possible damage to vision as they would have had to veer into the tear duct. Yeah for God! Amazing surgeons... no need for skin graft, etc, etc. either. And I didn't even have a black eye as being fair I was sure would be the case. Those blessings just kept coming...

It's healing beautifully. Through my own online research - being on my face, close to eye and a woman who does wear make-up; I found Kelo-Cote even recommending it to the docs as they were quite pleased with how it looked on the first follow-up. I also found out that massaging said gel helps to smooth down the keloidal scar as well as redness. You can find it online and is available in the UK, very affordable.

So there you have it, my skin sin story. I am so glad that we all had it taken care of. Hugs Kristin, you'll heal very quickly, I am certain!

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

I worked for a plastic surgeon for 12 years and BCE's are very common but do need to be taken care of. My husband gets them. I have darker skin and seem somewhat protected, so far. Sorry to say, they do come with age as it's an accumulation of damage from the sun. If the scar is not to your liking after a year, you can seek a consultation with a plastic surgeon - they do "make the best scars"! Good luck.


I had the same thing when I was 29 (I'm now 44). I thought I had a little scar on my cheek for almost 7 years. When the dermatologist told me they were going biopsy it I was completely surprised. It looked like nothing big. They removed a little football shaped chunk from my face and that was it. I'm sure more will pop up in the future as I age. I grew up in Southern California baking in the sun every summmer.

jan Greene

Hi Kristin, you are getting good info for sure. I would ditto Holly's advice regarding the location on your face. perhaps not a general surgeon. I have had two removed by the derma., one on my arm, another on the side of my leg. not highly sun exposed there, but who knows! I would say that the recent one on my arm, which looked extremely tiny, had left quite a large and deep scar. There are many options to consider, take your time and pray quietly!

Betty Bailey

Kristen, I wish you would have a plastic surgeon do the removal as it will likely reduce the scarring. Good luck, in any case!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences! I find the information helpful and encouraging. I now have a better idea about what to ask the surgeon when I go for the biopsy on Tuesday.

Carol, I am so sorry about the loss of your dear mom. I know that all who are reading join me in sending you this warm embrace.

Sandra Vann

Kristen, what wonderful advice from all...
Thank you for sharing your story with all of your on line friends and their enlightening comments. My sister and her daughter in AZ have had them removed as well. I am curious now as to with which method and will inquire further. Courage...follow your heart in your decision. An important reminder to all of us. I add my support and best wishes to all of those posted above that all goes extremely well for you.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I'm glad you are getting your skin taken care of. My mom had a basal cell carcinoma and the dermatologist told her that if you are going to get skin cancer, that is the best one to get. Her's was on her cheek and it kept scabbing over and then it would become raw again. It's probably a good idea for all of us to get a skin cancer check every year. Lot's of dermatologists here offer free body checks for skin cancer once or twice a year.
Take care,


I've had three bouts thus far...face, arm, and a big ugly one on my back. For my face I had Moh's Surgery. All healed well though I am not without scars. And all three presented in different ways: pearl-like and pearl-sized on my face, red patch on my arm, and dry patch on my back - all three basal cell. Helas! If I had a quarter for every person who has gone the the dermoatologist at my urging, I'd have a few dollars:) It's not something to ignore.

Jules Greer

Dearest Kristi,

Thank God you have all of your wonderful friends here supporting you through this milestone in your life. You are now entering what is known as the 'second act'of your are going to find this chapter of your life most interesting. I am proud of you for having the courage to maintain your transparent life with your friends here at FWAD. I know you were concerned about bringing this aspect of your life up, but these are the moments in your life that color in the hues of your spirit. I know you have suffered greatly over this - now you have moved forward, surrounded with all of your dear friends to bring this difficulty to its end. I loved today's post are going to come through this with grace, but, I do think Jean-Marc should accompany you on your appointment.




Hi Kristin,

A 50 sunblock and a hat! I always wear them...partly for protection, partly for vanity to prevent aging skin. They're essential, even when driving or doing dishes in front of a sunny window.

And everyone who the skin on the left side of your face to the same area on the right. You'll probably see a thickening & darkening on the left, evidence of sun damage.

When I'm in Vaison, i see very few people taking care in this way but I stride around wearing my hat anyway, even knowing there's a big arrow overhead, pointing at me and flashing "not French!" Les femmes Provencale adore the sun now but it's a strong one and they'll regret it in later years.

Kristin, your skin can't take it! Even if the hat situation isn't as good there as here, wear something to start and building a mini hat wardrobe.

Sending you good thoughts; bathing you in positive light.


Dear Kristin,
Thank you for sharing this with us. I admire your caring for yourself and not going into denial.
From a shamanic point of view, the location is interesting.
An opening of the third eye?
Much love and healing to you as well as curing.
I suggest if you are into it, a dialogue with the spot and to see what it is wanting to communicate with you before "removing" it. I believe the body has an innate intelligence that we can tune into. This is not to say "Don't have surgery" but it is to say there is something else for you here, a gift perhaps even more beautiful than that extraordinary collier.
Another thing to focus on is that 99.9% of your cells/body are happy and healthy and are there to help you heal. Isn't that perfect.
Now, let's all of us imagine this "spot" perfectly healed for dear Kristin, her procedure going perfectly, being surrounded by all the exact right people, all the angels that are on this page and will be there in form or not to assist her in this step of her journey. And may we imagine the same thing for all of those who wrote in who are experiencing something similar.
With love and the knowledge that Love is present in all things,including unusual cell expressions. May this thought bring some peace.


Thank you for sharing your experience with basal cell and your willingness to quickly take care of business. It is no secret that you are quite beautiful (inside and out) and should be selective with choosing the "right" surgeon to remove this bump. Hey, there is always a "bump in the road" in life isn't there? I know you will do your research and i feel that France will provide exceptional doctors for you. All your readers adore you (me included) so bonne chance to you Kristin! (Gosh i hope that is an appropriate phrase for this circumstance, i am a green francophile.)


I went to my dermatologist here in Southern California a few years ago for a brown spot on my face. She assured me it was not cancerous and was easy to remove. Then, she asked me if I had the time for her to inspect my whole body! I was a little in shock as I had only come for the small spot on my face. She caught me off guard but I agreed. I had not worn my usual "doctor office clothing" which makes it easy to undress. Luckily I had on a loose fitting long dress, as it was the middle of a hot summer. She instructed me to "Throw your dress up over your head." OK, an unusual request I thought, but I complied.
She told me to "turn around", "bend over" and finally "sit down." She checked me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. She checked under my hair, between my toes, the bottom of my feet and my protruding buttocks! She laughing said to me "I bet you are wondering why I am looking here" pointing to my buttocks. She explained it was because our clothing does not really protect us and especially on the parts of the body which protrude (nose, buttock) and that she often finds people have cancerous spots on the top of their buttock.
I look back on this day as a funny office visit, but also I am very glad she was serious enough to spend more time with me and educate me to the dangers of the sun. Unfortunately she has since retired.


I also had a basal cell removed from my forehead, and I would echo the advice above about having it done by a doctor trained in the Mohs technique if possible. That's what I did. Since they examine the slices they know they have taken it all out; furthermore they are trained in plastic surgery techniques to sew it back up with minimal scarring. At this point, about 4 years out, I can't even see the scar unless I have a overhead light that can find the very slight depression in the skin.

Best of luck to you!


Kristin, thank you for sharing your story and thank you for going to see a doctor! Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the USA and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. Although BCC is rarely fatal, it can cause disfigurement if allowed to grow. The best prevention is to wear a sunscreen of at least spf 15 daily on all skin (not just exposed skin because most clothes only offer an spf of 5, allowing UV rays to reach the skin). Your readers can learn more about preventing skin cancer at FYI, I'm not affiliated with the Skin Cancer Foundation in any way but I'm a huge advocate of preventing skin cancer.

Rina Rao.

Dear Kristin,
It's nice of you to share this--gives others awareness and courage.
All the very best for Tuesday---will have you in my thoughts/prayers.
Take care.

Sablet Home

Bon Courage Kristin! The good news is that you are dealing with it. You'll look back at this and be very glad it's all over with. Thanks for sharing - we can all learn something from your experience.
Take Care!


Hi Kristin, hopefully the removal of the carcinoma doesn't hurt and the healing time goes by fast, I wish you the best and will keep praying for you. I recently discovered some red spots on my tummy and my arms, I was very scared but I found out that those little red spots are called Nevus ruby and usually appear in middle age people with white skin, so I'm feeling better now that I know. I use "sunblock" SPF 100 because it blocks the sun, not "sunscreen" because with that one you can still get the damage of the UVA UVB rays. If you can't find sunblock SPF 100 in France don't hesitate and contact me, I would be glad to send you some.
Have a great weekend!


I just stopped by and what a treat to see the trompe-l'oeil photo from Pourrières ... charming!

Karen Johnson

Thanks for the warning!I have a spot on my forehead that looks a lot like yours and I have been debating seeing the dermotologist. You made my mind up for me! Thanks! I have had many spots removed in the past and my husband, Tim, had Mohs surgery on his face a few years ago and now goes in every 6 months. It's nothing to fool around with. Remembering you in prayer as you go in to have it removed!

Janet from California

Kristin, Thanks for getting the word out about skin cancer. About 20 years ago I went to a dermatologist about a mole on my thigh that had changed appearance. It turned out to be melanoma. I worried about its recurrence for years, but have had no more melanomas. I go to the dermatologist every 6 months. This summer she discovered a tiny spot on my lower leg that turned out to be squamous cell. She removed it and I'm fine. But I'd recommend having a dermatologist check you out every 6 months from now on. And your kids should be checked by a dermatologist too. I was told that this can be genetic (my mom had melanoma too).

Let us know how it goes tomorrow!

Julie Decker-Steinkraus

Dear Kristin,

Welcome to the not-so-fun club. Glad to hear you took action and didn't dismiss your "spot." Like some of your other readers, I have had so many removals, etc. it's almost hard to keep track. However, I know it's necessary to be diligent and have a wonderful dermatologist who helps me track down and take action against the "baddies." Fortunately no melanoma yet, and hope never to have one. Best of luck to you, don't worry too much, and just remember to keep diligent!!

Your fellow sun lover,




I'm glad you noticed your "spot" and followed up on it. Fortunately these things can be treated. Hope your next appointment goes smoothly and without much ado!



Hi Kristin....what a timely post!
I have been in sort of hiding over the last week as I have had a little BCC taken out from near the corner of my eye and I have been joking about the frankenstein stitches across my nose! They come out on Monday :-)
I also noticed a small pearly change and thought I would see a dermatologist. Like you it took 4 weeks to get in and he straight away took out his pen and did the scary circle and said he would operate the next week. I was thrown into a flurry as I did not know what sort of a surgeon the derma was and if the BCC was anywhere else I would not have worried about him but right on my face was a different matter!
I went back to my doctor and asked if she would trust the dermatologist to do a good job or if she would go elsewhere....a plastic surgeon with experience in Mohs was recommended.
I am very glad I have gone to him and even though I still have stitches in I can already see that the scar will be miminal after only the first week.
I had originally after surgery joked with my husband that any thread of vanity I might have had has now been cured...but after a week I can happily say that I can still sneak in a little girly vanity after all :-)
You will be fine...keep in charge...understand what is happening...ask questions and don't worry!! (not like me!)
Big hug
Gretel xo

Diana Goggin

Kristin, I'm so glad you went to the dermatologist as soon as you could. I knew it was basal cell carcinoma from when you first started describing the spot. I grew up in Arizona at a time when it wasn't known that the sun could damage the skin and there really wasn't any sunscreen then. Over the years, I've had many show up -- mostly on my face. They are easy to remove with just a local anesthetic, but it can sometimes take hours if the sample sent to the lab shows there still is some cancer in that spot. On one surgery, the surgeon had to keep sending out samples until he almost had to cut through to the inside of my nose. He had to take a flap of my cheek to cover the whole. Now, you can't even tell I had surgery there; nor at the other places on my face. Be sure and visit a dermatologist regularly, as I'm sure more will appear. Always wear a broad-brimmed hat in the sun, and always put on a strong sunscreen every morning as part of your regular routine. Take care.

anne wirth

Glad you are getting it attended to as soon as possible. I will be praying for you.


Our dear Kristin,
We'll be praying for you on Tuesday,and also
thanking God for giving you wisdom to see the dermatologist.
Needless to say,a totally frightening experience and(!)yet later instilling such gratitude for the precious gift of life and how frail it can be.
I had two melanomas (while in my early 40's);both detected by accident on my part.I not only realize how lucky I am,but also embrace the lesson with the happy ending that I was given.
May the Father always keep you and your dear family in the palm of His hand.
Stay well,dear friend,
Sending love and XO's.


I have that precancerous things burned off with liquid nitrogen by my dermatologist and primary. I now use anything from SPF 15-70 depending on how strong the sun is. We all have to be careful. I used to get burned so often as a teenage and into my 30's and even now sometimes.
We didn't know any better years ago, but now there is so much information out there that everyone should know. Yet there are still many young kids going to tanning salons. The salons should be banned. I confuse that I used to go to them, but not now.
If a doctor is cutting on your face, you really should have a dermatologist do it. Bon chance!

Marianne Rankin

I haven't had melanoma, but can see how I might have gotten it. When we were children, although we never worked at getting a tan, we did get tan from being outside. One summer we spent about 12 hours at a beach and came home so burned we almost had blisters - clearly a bad idea. I got a couple of other sunburns without trying - while fishing with a friend, and (in the Bahamas, much closer to the Equator) just taking a morning walk on the beach. When sunscreens became available (rather than Coppertone-type creams), we started using them. I have a sunscreen designed for babies and children that is SPF 50. I use it for gardening and other outdoor activities. I usually don't go swimming till about 7 p.m., to avoid intense rays. If I go earlier, I use the sunscreen.

When driving, I apply a stick sunscreen, more on the left side than the right, since that side is more exposed - it's amazing how much time we can wind up spending in cars, which we usually don't think of as exposing us to the sun.

Kristin, in sunny Provence, it's good if all of your family uses sunscreen all the time. I'm glad you caught the spot early. Good luck!


I am glad that you prayed about it. That's the most important thing you did. My husband and I are praying for you, too.

Diane W. Young

Years ago, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from the tip of my nos. It took several hours because the doctor had to keep checking to see if he was getting it all. Then I wore a big bandage on nose for couple of weeks,including to a big family reunion. It never returned but I wear SPF 50 lotion on my face every day. rain or shine, under my makeup. The damage had been done when I was a teenager and spent a lot of time at the beacb with my fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Now I stay out of the sun but because it's so hot and humid here.


Kristin--We all do so appreciate your sharing your basal cell growth, your fears and your message to "get ourselves checked". You are a strong and resilient woman based on your voice and writings and are right to deal with this immediately. You have my prayers for little or no pain and sound results on Tuesday. Peace be with you....Robyn in New Mexico


I am glad you went in. I had a spot on my chest, a few inches below my colar bone. I thought it was a pimple as well. The gal that does my facials told me to go get it checked out. It ended up being sqamous cells. After that one, the next was on my back, which I could not see. The doctor saw it after he removed the stiches from the one on my chest. Now my son tells everyone that I was shot, the entry wound on the front, and exit wound straight back on my back. That one ended up being squamous cells as well. I grew up not far from you, Kristin, and still live in the sunny state of Arizona. We all cover ourselves in sun screen every morning and get check ups every 6 months. Everyone needs to be aware and watch for 'spots' that don't look normal. GO AND GET THE SPOTS CHECKED OUT.

Jean(ne) P in MN

Just another word of encouragement from one who has been there, too. Ask about the MOHS. For me, too many LA sunburns as a child on my fair skin before anyone had sunscreen. My Dad used to soak up the sun and then began to come home with little spots scraped off his face; now I am scraped, but it heals and I keep checking. You have all of us on your side, bon courage.

Lisa A., CA

Oh I am so glad you had someone look at it and didn't put it off. I wish you all the best on your next appointment! Your mom is right...take Jean-Marc with you. Huge hugs!

Diane Heinecke

Kristin, so glad you didn't wait. Although I don't have experience with skin cancer, I too was told I had cancer this year (breast), and it was pretty scary at first. Living in a small town, many of my friends urged me to get treatment in a big city. The very best thing is early detection (Hourra!)and treatment as soon as possible. Doing my homework and even getting a second opinion showed me that the same therapy would have been recommended no matter where I lived. Know that you are in a good place. And know that you have still another reader friend praying for you, this one in southeastern Georgia. Courage, mon amie!

Maria E. Sastre Wiirshing

Ive had had 4 basal carcinoma and 1 squamous all in my face. My mother had melanoma and did not die from cancer . She had her leg amputated but lived until she was 86 years old.

It is very important that you get an effective skin block. I like Vichy that contains mexoryl . If you buy an american brand it must have zinc oxide and another ingredient that I don't remenber right now.

The mohs method is the best.

Don't worry you will be allright . God bless you

Jacqueline Brisbane

Someone from my Herb Society got rid of her spot with a very powerful herb known as Petty Spurge or Radium Weed. ...

Carole Thrasher

Kristin, so glad you investigated this!! Holding good thoughts for you and successful removal of this little problem spot!! Blessings!


I love it that you write about both the lovely and the scary or difficult in life. I had a basal cell on the small of my back in my forties--an area never much exposed to the sun. Because I have Irish skin and come from California, and because my father died of melanoma, I get checked every year. It's important because what I have suspected were cancerous spots were nothing, while two other innocent-looking marks were biopsied(and benign) over the years.

María E. Sastre Wirshing

Today is the day of your appointment with the plastic surgeon. Hope everything turn out to be all right. Hopefully I didn't need plastic surgery and my nose scar is hidden with foundation.
I'm praying for you.

I asked a dermatoligist and the ingredients of an effective american made sun block are zinc oxide and titanium oxide.

Good luck and God bless you.


Kristin, my thoughts are with you. I too have had basal cell carcinoma removed from my nose and have another that needs to be removed two weeks from now. Of course as a woman, we are all so sensitive about doing anything that could damage our visage however what are the options? I grew up in California with English skin, red hair, and green eyes. My Mom and Dad tried to diligently keep us covered up but it was nearly impossible, especially since the sunscreens were so ineffective back then. Of course now I'm diligent about it and preach to my neice and step-daughters to keep covered up or wear sunscreen everywhere, especially backs of hands, neck, face and chest. If only I could start all over again. Good luck on your recovery and I am sure the scar will fade over time and will become a distant memory.

Tobi Fistcher

A small mole should never be ignored because that mole can be a malignant spot which can cause skin cancer. It's a good thing your skin doctor caught sight of that immediately because it can easily be removed through surgery. I'm counting on your recovery, Mademoiselle. =)


Il faut toujours porter un chapeau....

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)