Basal Cell Carcinoma – The Most Common Form of Skin Cancer

Hear the word “cancer” from your doctor and you feel instant terror.  Visiting the internet to do research can turn the toughest person into a terrified child.  Especially when you look at the pictures.

Not a scary cancer picture

Not a scary cancer picture

15 years ago my Dad told me he had cancer, and my terrified inner child surfaced.  Two and a half years ago when my 29 year-old daughter called to share that she had melanoma, my inner protective mom rose up, mixed with that terrified inner child.  Thankfully my daughter is now cancer free.

My daughter, a melanoma survivor.

My daughter, a melanoma survivor.

Now it’s my turn.   I have several instances of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), with surgeries scheduled next month.

As a teacher I feel the need to educate others on the disease. Basal cell carcinoma is the most curable cancer.  It grows slowly and doesn’t spread to the blood stream or lymph nodes.  It is not generally life threatening, unlike melanoma.  What is a bit scary in this “looks conscious” world:   BCC damages tissue as it grows, leaving scars.  Surgery can exacerbate the scarring resulting in disfigurement.

This April I saw a dermatologist because a rash-like spot on my side began to hurt. This spot had been present for more than a decade.  Years ago a GP physician in Texas told me it was nothing to worry about.  I should have gotten a second opinion from a dermatologist.  Chalk it up to human nature… we often hear what we want to hear, and avoid investigating further.

The silver lining for me is this:  I finally got a diagnosis, and good information from a dermatologist.  I have a BCC above my eye, on my side, and on my back.  Also several pre-cancers around and about.  I thought the spot above my eye was a pimple.  Who knew?

The following information is not to scare anyone.  It is presented to educate those who, like me had no idea what BCC looks like.  This information is excerpted from a pamphlet on BCC provided by the American Academy of Dermatology ( I strongly suggest that you consult a medical professional for additional information.

What BCC looks like

BCC appears on the skin in many shapes and sizes.  You may see a:

  • Dome-shaped growth with visible blood vessels
  • Shiny, pinkish patch
  • Sore that heals, and then returns and can repeatedly heal and return
  • Brown or black growth
  • White or yellow waxy growth that looks like a scar

If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, immediately make an appointment to see your dermatologist.  Tell the person who schedules the appointment why you want to see your dermatologist.

With skin cancer cases increasing every year, sunscreen and hats should be worn consistently as we enjoy the great outdoors.

I’m nervous for my upcoming surgeries.  I’m also confident that thanks to the support of my friends and family, and state-of-the-art Mohs surgery (see literature) I will ultimately be fine.

Thanks for listening!

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature


A friend living a healthy active life, taking precautions due to an incidence of Basal Cell Carcinoma

A friend living a healthy active life, taking precautions due to an incidence of Basal Cell Carcinoma

The Art of Football

Fall and football have always provided me with such joy and entertainment.  Obviously the colors of fall would entice any painter to paint, but why be drawn to football?  I guess the answer is I grew up with it.  Watercolor painting of two hummingbirds holding up a blue banner that says My parents lived in Ann Arbor, MI while my dad attended the University of Michigan Law school.  I spent ages 3-5 romping the campus.  I’ve always loved the feeling in “The Big House”, U of M’s beautiful stadium.  When the Wolverine band plays “Hail to the Victors” I still light up and cry.
Watercolor painting by artist Barbara Bromley of a bobcat with the word
As I consider life transitions, I can’t help but mention how many college teams have been added to my cheering list over the years:  Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan,  University of Georgia, Universities of Texas – Austin and San Antonio, and of course the great Michigan State Spartans.  I followed in my brother’s footsteps to attend MSU in East Lansing.  I met my husband and earned a degree at this gorgeous campus.
Watercolor painting by artist Barbara Bromley of two hummingbirds holding up a blue banner that says
When I cheer for the various colleges attended by loved ones, I’m also cheering for my family and our shared love of learning.  I have “woofed” with my younger brother while watching the GA Bulldogs, toasted wine with my older brother after the Spartans beat Ohio State 28-24 in 1998, taking on their rightful position as season-spoilers.  I cried when my babies graduated from UT and UTSA.
Watercolor painting by Barbara Bromley, with a hand-lettered
Now that my daughter is a professor at the University of Kentucky, guess who has gained my loyalty?  One artistic benefit of this is my new love of painting bobcats.  Go WILDCATS!  Go BIG BLUE!  (except when you’re playing the MSU Spartans)

Thanks for listening,

Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

P.S.  –  Here’s me, my husband (right) and brother celebrating MSU’s 1998 football victory over OSU.

Photograph of artist Barbara Bromley, her husband (right) and brother (left) celebrating the Spartan victory over OSU in 1998 collegiate football