I have not been to the dermatologist for about 10 years. Back then, I don’t think it was to check my moles, but to fix my acne. So for some reason, I still don’t know why, I made an appointment. In fact, my original appointment was for February, but I didn’t want to go. I think I postponed my appointment 3 different times. Ignorance is bliss right?
There were a few things that had been bothering me. I had a list actually, with about 6 different things for my doc to check out. A mole that seemed too big, or mole with un-even edges. I even had a freckle (that I have had since i was a kid) scab and fall off. Some concerning issues I guess. I am pretty light skinned, and I went to Highschool in the 90’s, so I was known to hit those damn tanning beds a time or two. But back then, everyone was fake baking.
So I went. The dermatologist checked me all over and even on my scalp. Everything that was on my list of concerns ended up being normal. The doc did remove 2 moles that I never thought was a problem. They were both on my back. When a dermatologist removes any moles or skin, they have to send it in for a biopsy.
Yesterday, I got my results.
I was not concerned at all. So I was surprised to hear that one of my biopsy’s came back with abnormal cells. The doc got all of it, but I just have to be on the look out to see if the mole grows back, or I see a pink to red pigment in that area. I will then have to go back, and have surgery to remove it. I am not concerned, but relieved that I went and got these checked. I do have skin cancer in my family, so I think it has always weighed on my mind.
The one thing that stuck with me, was that the doc said, if I had waited just another year to get checked, it would have been a much worse situation, and would have been cancer.
One thing that I did not know about until I got to the doc? May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
I think that is very important, especially because it convinced me to tell my story, and try to convince you ladies to go get checked.
We are now at the age that should be checked for this type of thing, especially if you were ever a “fake baker.”
Now I will get to the fun facts.
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime and that means more people will have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
Check yourself and always use the A,B,C,D,E Rule.
Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical. If you were to draw a line through a normal spot, you would have two symmetrical halves. In cases of skin cancer, spots will not look the same on both sides.
A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges.
A mole that is more than one hue is suspicious and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Normal spots are usually one color. This can include lightening or darkening of the mole.
If it is larger than a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch or 6mm), it needs to be examined by a doctor. This is includes areas that do not have any other abnormalities (color, border, asymmetry).
Elevation means the mole is raised above the surface and has an uneven surface.
For more details, check out this video with great explanations from Dr. Jessica J. Krant, MD
I hope this convinces you to get a check up. It is better to be safe than sorry. Especially when you can find it early like me.