Schedule a regular doctor appointment or Urgent Care?
September 1, 2016 11:05 PM   Subscribe

You are not my doctor or any permutation thereof. I have a "scab" that hasn't healed for approx 2 years. It does not act like a normal scab. Pictures and details within.

Pictures are here. First off, I am not freaking out or anything but this is an odd skin spot that has been suggested that I check out. Slightly smaller than a dime. It is located on the upper part of my calf. It will not heal and doesn't act like a normal wound that is healing; it heals over but if you pick at it only small pieces flake off, never a whole scab. It is more resistant to picking and with some effort will "flake" off. It is a hard wart-like nugget. It feels like if you could just get enough pressure under it that it might pop like a huge zit. I actually asked my mom to look at it and she freaked out. Her dog will also not stop trying to lick and sniff this spot. Yikes. It isn't is more like a small hardened cone. It does bleed if picked at but not much.

Thanks for reading. I will get this looked at, I was just hoping for insight on the urgency.
posted by grok sok to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not to freak you out but I would get that looked sooner than later. My brother had a very similar lesion and it was one of the less serious forms of skin cancer, sqaumous cell I think. He had it for quite a while before he had it removed too because he also thought it was a zit/ bug bite/ pimple. That was about 15 years ago and he's had no further issues and is not expected to. His was much smaller but they took a good sized chunk of the surrounding flesh too so the sooner the better as far as removal/ scarring I'd think. His was taken off by a plastic surgeon btw, not by his regular doctor and while they did it promptly it wasn't treated as an immediate emergency.
posted by fshgrl at 11:17 PM on September 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

It looks like a wart to me. I would schedule a regular Drs appt within the next two weeks.
posted by samthemander at 11:18 PM on September 1, 2016

There is nothing Urgent Care is going to do for you at this point that wouldn't be better handled by a regular doctor.

Urgent Care would likely just give you a bandaid and maybe an antibiotic cream and tell you to follow up with a regular doctor or a specialist. Your regular doctor will either handle it or refer you to a specialist. If you already have bandaids and antibiotic cream, skip Urgent Care and get an appointment with a regular doctor.
posted by erst at 11:32 PM on September 1, 2016 [21 favorites]

That isn't a wart (although it doesn't look like melanoma either). Don't go to urgent care but have it looked at sooner rather than later by a primary care physician or dermatologist if you have access to one. That is a concerning looking skin lesion.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:43 AM on September 2, 2016 [14 favorites]

And put a bandage on it so that you don't pick at it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:44 AM on September 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would schedule a dermatologist appointment. It could be a basal cell carcinoma and they can easily remove it and get it sent for biopsy.
posted by emd3737 at 1:02 AM on September 2, 2016 [7 favorites]

I found this website very good for symptom checking of all my various niggles

Isabel Symptom Checking
posted by moiraine at 2:10 AM on September 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

That looks a lot like my basal cell carcinoma. My dermatologist tried to treat me with topical meds for a year before he finally cut it out. I wouldn't go to urgent care because they are going to refer you to a dermatologist. Get in with that dermatologist as soon as you can, though.
posted by kamikazegopher at 2:44 AM on September 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Don't go to urgent care. Go to a dermatologist.
posted by colfax at 3:46 AM on September 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

Skip urgent care. Skip general physician. Go straight to dermatologist. If you have any older photos of the spot, bring them to your first appointment. Or better, email all available photos ahead of your appointment so they can (theoretically) be reviewed before you present.
posted by bilabial at 3:50 AM on September 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

That looks nasty and familiar. Skip UC and Go to your GP and get a referral to dermatology.

I've had several 'thingies' taken off my bod in the last 7 years or so. I'm a red head with red head skin and have been plagued with this kind of thing. So far nothing really nasty (cancer), but one day...(I hope not!)
posted by james33 at 4:45 AM on September 2, 2016

Nthing going straight to a dermatologist. They sometimes have months-long waiting lists, so be up front with "I have a scab that hasn't healed for two years and I want it checked out ASAP in case it's cancerous" when you make the appointment. Do what you can to get in sooner rather than later.

Doesn't look like melanoma but IANAD. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are often easy to remove/treat and have a good prognosis.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:30 AM on September 2, 2016

Nthing the advice to get yourself to a dermatologist. That looks kind of like what my basal cell carcinoma looked like (similarly, I thought it was a "zit" that I just kept picking at and that's why it didn't heal for over a year... sigh). Anyway. A dermatologist will likely biopsy it and tell you what's what.
posted by TwoStride at 6:18 AM on September 2, 2016

I don't think Urgent Care is a good choice. I would call your primary care doc and ask for an emergency appt, or ask them for an emergency referral. When I had a weird mole, my internist biopsied/removed it (it was just a mole).
posted by theora55 at 7:15 AM on September 2, 2016

Adding my encouragement to see a dermatologist asap. Around here that can take 4-6 months.

It looks a lot like the squamous cell carcinoma I had two years ago. I had it removed by something called a MOHS procedure. Here's a link: info.
posted by qurlyjoe at 9:16 AM on September 2, 2016

If that had been on my leg for two months, I'd have visited my skin cancer guy and had it turned into a battle scar.

Go thou and do likewise.
posted by flabdablet at 10:44 AM on September 2, 2016

Nthing that you should do whatever you have to to get an appointment with a dermatologist ASAP. Urgent care or your GP isn't specialist enough to be definitive.
posted by quince at 11:52 AM on September 2, 2016

Yeah, not to pile on, but get into the dermatologist ASAP. (Not to freak you out, but there is anecdotal evidence that dogs can tell when their humans have health issues.)

It may well be benign, but this way you can rest easy and not worry about it anymore OR have it taken care of.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 12:32 PM on September 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, it normally takes forever to see a dermatologist, but if you call and tell them you have a concerning spot, a lot of offices can get you in quicker. The several-month waits are for routine visits.
posted by hungrytiger at 4:47 PM on September 2, 2016

Thank you for the responses. I will go see a dermatologist and not urgent care. I have been too relaxed about taking care of this. I often have lesions that can take a year or more to heal (complication of genetic disorder) but this one is different. I am a picker but I leave this spot alone for weeks at a time because (TMI) there is no pay off for picking it; no satisfying scab to peel off and it never gets better.

I was looking for a nudge to make this a priority and so this post has been a success. It is the dog being slightly obsessed with spot that actually prompted my concern. I will update this as I learn more information.

One more thing, I have another problematic spot near my genitals. Does the average dermatologist regularly examine this area or do I need to request a specific kind of dermatologist? I know that dermatology involves the whole body (of course) but I feel very self-conscious about this.
posted by grok sok at 7:42 PM on September 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dermatologists will get all up in there, don't worry and don't feel self conscious at all. They do it all day long and it's SOP to wear nothing but a hospital gown for a skin check. They will literally go over you with a fine tooth comb and will look at any suspicious spots with various lights/ magnifiers etc. My dermatologist takes a lot of photos so she can track stuff over time so be prepared for that too. They are close ups, you are not identifiable in them but it's kinda weird having someone you barely know take a photo of your butt cheek.
posted by fshgrl at 8:13 PM on September 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Agreed with fshgrl, any dermatologist will look at your genitals and take biopsies from that area. My dermatologist has you wear underwear during your skin check, so you don't feel totally exposed until it's time for her to examine that particular area. They're cool about it, don't worry.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:54 AM on September 4, 2016

grok sok, a good dermatologist should do a skin check on your ENTIRE body - this includes your scalp, your perineum, skin folds, the soles of your feet, everything. But please don't wait for them to look for it, just tell them about any concerning things you have noticed. They have seen it all and then some, trust me.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:34 AM on September 6, 2016

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