How I dealt with a skin cancer diagnosis and photodynamic therapy

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

I’m often asked about my skin cancer diagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). I’m sharing my journey and treatment as it may help others dealing with it too.

This is a personal account of my experience with a skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. Always seek your doctor’s advice. For information on sun safety and cancer prevention, please visit the Cancer Council.

Recently I was contacted by a member of our community who was super scared about her skin cancer diagnosis. She’d had several Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC) removed and reached out to me to ask about the treatment I’d had. She was suffering severe anxiety and didn’t know how to manage her worry about the sun and what would happen next.

This is just one of several emails I have received like this, so I thought I would share my journey and treatment as it may be helpful to others in the same situation. 

my diagnosis

Dealing with skin cancer has been an ongoing issue for me, first starting with a diagnosis of BCCs, Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC) which can get worse if left untreated. Later I developed the big one – a melanoma and since continue to find more BCC’s and SCCs. I take all sun spots seriously and never leave new or itchy spots too long before discussing with my doctor as I’ve had two friends pass away from melanoma.

Thankfully for me, my skin cancer was treatable. I’m really careful with my skin, wearing sunscreen every day and covering up when I’m outside. I get regular skin checks (if you have my planner you will notice the skin check reminders are in there!) I’m also fair-skinned, putting me at higher risk of sun cancer, but any skin type is susceptible so everyone needs to be aware.

my treatment

After I had my big SCC removed from my forehead (I have a big scar on my forehead which has healed quite nicely) the doctor found several more new spots on my face. She treated them with what I call ‘zaps’ (the freezing treatment technically called cryotherapy), but they kept returning so my skin doctor suggested Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) as a more intensive treatment.
I don’t want to lie, PDT is an uncomfortable experience that I’m not looking forward to having done again, but I will if I need to. As I mentioned above, I do have a big scar on my forehead from a skin cancer being removed. But the PDT can prevent the need from further scars on my face.
While it’s hard to say whether it was successful as such, I can say that the spots my doctor was concerned about haven’t had to be surgically removed. Any issues I’ve had since then have been treated with the ‘zap’. 
After I healed my skin was so soft. I rarely wear make up these days, instead I use tinted sunscreen. I carry a hat with me everywhere too. I have a clip on my handbag so it hangs on my handbag when I don’t use it. 

how i dealt with my anxiety

Cancer is a scary word, there’s no denying that. At first, I beat myself up about the time I had spent in the sun as a child, until I realised there’s nothing I can do about that now. What I can do is make sun-safe choices for the future, and be proud of myself for remembering to make my health a priority, doing what I can to protect myself. So I do this –

  • get regular skin checks
  • wear sunscreen and a hat
  • don’t get sunburnt
  • don’t stand or sit in the sun (if I’m at a cafe, I move out of the sun)
  • walk and garden early or late in the day
  • educate my kids about sun safety

It’s about making the right choices when you know you can. As for the future, it is hard not knowing what will happen and it’s easy to let anxiety brew and take over. My advice is to just know you are doing your best and live in the now. We always imagine the worst but most of the time the worst doesn’t actually happen.

different types of skin cancers

Firstly, please know I am not a specialist, please do your own research and do not take what I have shared as gospel. A lovely community member, Jacqui wrote to me and explained in easy terms the difference between the 3 types of skin cancers:

  1. BCC – usually occurs 20 years after a sunburn episode. Non-invasive removal. 
  2. SCC – can become invasive if you have them on your head/face/scalp. Grow very quickly. Look wart like.
  3. Melanoma – Needs to be found early, you will have a wide excision and will require 6-12 monthly skin checks post-diagnosis.

To anyone out there struggling with a skin cancer diagnosis, I wish you all the best with your healing journey. Be proud of the steps you are taking to be proactive with your skin checks and protecting your skin and that of your family. Try to keep calm and optimistic about it all, follow your doctor’s advice and feel good that you’re doing your best.


To be your best self, you need to look after yourself. We can’t pour from an empty cup. Sometimes as a mum, life can get busy and we forget to focus on ourselves because we’re busy making sure everyone else is getting what they need. Continue Reading

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My mission is to inspire and empower others to achieve a sense of order and balance in their homes, enabling them to easily tackle daily tasks so then the rest of the day is filled with activities that bring them joy.

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As a popular blogger, influencer, and author, I draw from my expertise in home organisation, cleaning, and meal planning to offer practical tips and heartfelt encouragement to my audience.