NewsChannel 3’s Juliet Bickford shares her experience with skin cancer

Do you know how to spot skin cancer? NewsChannel 3’s Juliet Bickford thought she did, but she almost missed it on her own skin.

Dermatologist Dr. Arnold Oppenheim is now treating her for skin cancer.

A few weeks ago, he diagnosed a small spot on her forehead as basal cell carcinoma.

“I never would have in a million years thought this tiny spot would turn into this,” says Juliet.

In fact, it’s the most common form of cancer.

Often patients don’t realize that’s what they have because a basal cell doesn’t look like a mole. Her spot looked a little like a blemish or bug bite.

“If you have bleeding in a spot, that’s almost a giveaway it could be a basal cell,” says Dr. Oppenheim.

And it didn’t go away. She noticed it for months before she said anything.

Doctor Oppenheim says if anything unusual pops up on your skin and doesn’t go away after a month, see your doctor.

“If it is something, you’re delaying the diagnosis and you’re going to need a more involved procedure,” says Dr. Oppenheim.

She was able to catch it relatively early, so she had something called MOHS surgery on her forehead last week.

“It looks bruised underneath. A lot of damage during the surgical procedure,” says Juliet.

It left a scar, but it got the basal cell out. Getting surgery early can make a big difference.

In an extreme case, Dr. Oppenheim treated a patient whose entire cheek and eye were affected.

Here’s what to look for:

  • An open sore
  • A reddish patch
  • A shiny or pink bump
  • A scar like area

“The good thing about basal cells is they rarely kill anybody. They can be disfiguring if you let them go too long,” says Dr. Oppenheim.

2 comments

  • Marie Ward

    Eye melanoma is rare and doctors don’t know what causes it. On Friday July 13, 2012 I went to an eye doctor because I found a brown spot on the iris of my eye. I just thought I needed glasses before that, because my vision was blurry. Turns out it was cancer and the doctor sent me straight to Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. Six days after being diagnosed they did surgery, sewing a radiation plaque to my eye that had to stay on there for four days, before having it surgically removed. My vision in that eye is just a blur right now. They told me a cataract would form and then I will get glacoma in that eye. The cancer is finally gone, after my last visit to Philadelphia on December 3,2013. I will have cataract removed sometime in July 2014. There are no symptoms and no way to prevent this rare cancer. My suggestion is; any problems with blurriness should be checked out right away. I just kept putting it off and thought I just needed glasses. Luckily my optic nerve was not damaged.

  • ck

    Hey thanks for the warning about the closeups of the gaping bloody hole in that woman’s forehead. Could’ve made me sick or something if I hadn’t known about it while eating an early lunch.

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