Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Your Moles Need Some Attention

My brother-in-law was recently diagnosed with melanoma. He is now in the beginning few months of a year-long regimen of Interferon treatments. I have only spoken to him once since his diagnosis ("Please, Carol, make sure you and your whole family get those moles checked," he pleaded, his voice weak from drug-induced exhaustion), but I try to speak with my sister-in-law regularly, offering what support I can from afar and just letting her know that she and her family are in our thoughts.

In the back of my mind throughout my communication with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law has been a visit I had with my dermatologist two years ago. At that time, my doctor recommended that I have a few moles removed. As a redhead, especially one who grew up in California, I am apparently at increased risk.

I'm ashamed to say that I canceled the appointment to have those moles removed. I can't remember now why I canceled, but I did.

Last weekend, as I absentmindedly flipped my hair behind my ear, I felt a bump on my scalp. It didn't concern me -- until it began to bleed. Then I remembered my brother-in-law's admonition as well as my canceled appointment, and I promised myself that this time I'd follow through.

Yesterday I was back at the dermatologist's office. The mole on my scalp, it turns out, isn't a problem. But the same moles that concerned her two years ago still concerned her yesterday, and I've made an appointment to have them removed on May 20th. This time, I promise to keep the appointment! She's not greatly concerned, and neither am I, but I've learned more about this disease since my brother-in-law's diagnosis, and he's absolutely right: it IS critical to be vigilant about this devastating, yet preventable, disease!

As a public service to those of you who are ignoring moles that you shouldn't ignore for one moment longer (in other words, don't be stupid like me), here's my public service for you -- do NOT ignore this for one more minute!

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G in Berlin said...

Thanks for posting this. Both my parents had had melanomas removed while still small and my older brother had one removed when he was 45, so I had a top to bottom check when I was 35 and wound up having three assymetrical and strting to spread moles removed: it's such an easy way to stay alive.
And let me add, due to family history I had a colonoscopy at 35 and had a large polyp removed: another easy way to stay alive. Everyone should also get a colonoscopy as suggested or family history requires!

Goofball said...

this is indeed very important.

I think I am at risk as well as my parents were huge tanning lovers in the 60ies and 70ies and 80ies and I grew up as a child getting stimulated to play out in the sun (without protection!). My parents now really realise the dangers, but I think I've had a fare share of sun on my skin during my childhood.

Fortunately I don't have any moles at the moment.

Jen said...

My sister and my father both had serious bouts with melanoma. It's something I'm vigilant about every day. I'm so glad you're getting those moles removed! said...

Melanomas are different to ordinary skin cancers. And can occur on people living in less sunny parts of the world. watch out for any unusual skin spots is a careful and thoughtful approach. Have had lots of small skin cancers removed over the years....part of being outdoors unfortunately, and you get a feel for what is and what is not a potential problem. BUT....still get kids out to play OUTSIDE, just avoid the middle of the day!

San Diego Momma/Two Funny Brains said...

This reminds me of the appointment I've been putting off.



Lynda said...

Recently I went into battle here in Cairo with the little private school my daughter attends because they were not enforcing a 'no hat no play' policy with the kids... this is normal Australia-wide and the children think nothing of it.
I was shocked to think that parents would allow there children to play outdoors in this hot climate without a hat!
Excellent reminder and I hope your B-I-L makes a full and healthy recovery.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to your BIL. Thanks for the reminder. I took my son to have a large mole on his back looked at by the doc. It is big, irregular shaped and changing but the doctor said it was ok. Maybe I should take him back or go for a second opinion.

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