Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hole-y mole-y!

I have often advocated regular visits to the dermatologist for “mole checks” on this blog.  Until my brother-in-law, who has melanoma, urged me to be checked for suspicious moles, I’d never seen a dermatologist.  But his situation (Interferon treatments for an entire year, hoping for a 10% chance of a more positive outcome) jolted me out of my procrastination and I finally found a dermatologist and went in for a “mole inspection.” 

At that first appointment, Dr. Voss found four suspicious moles.  She removed and biopsied them and called me back to take deeper tissue from two of them that showed irregular cells.  I have quite the scar on my chest, which affects the necklines I choose to wear these days, but I do NOT have cancer.

A few months later, I returned for a follow-up check and lo and behold, another suspicious mole was removed.  My latest follow-up appointment was scheduled for January 5th – the day after my accident – so obviously that was cancelled.  Now, normally I’d probably space and not re-schedule (after all, it’s just a check-up…), but in this case I knew better and I rescheduled for when I knew I’d be mobile enough to get to the office.

Good thing, too.  Because yesterday FOUR more moles were removed, and today my forearm looks like this:


That wound is nothing – and yet, fear of that silly superficial scratch is what had prevented me – a redhead, no less – from being checked in the first place!  How stupid is that?!

So this is your call to action.  Pick up the phone and make an appointment with a dermatologist for a mole check NOW.  Do not wait.  Don’t wait till you read just five more blogs.  Don’t wait till after dinner.  Don’t wait till you’re near a phone.  Don't wait till you feel like it. 

Just do it.  NOW.  Right this minute!

And if you’re in the Seattle area, I can recommend Julie Voss at Northwest Face in Kirkland.  You’ll even have this view from the parking lot (bring a sandwich and have a picnic!):


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Tonya said...

I made an appointment! (I've had the referral from my MD since last July and your post prompted me to dig it out and make the call). I'm fair-skinned and freckly and I've wondered about a few of those moles...

Betsy said...

Thanks, this was exactly the kick in the butt that I needed! I just made an appointment for next thursday at 8:20.

I'm fair skinned and freckly and grew up in Florida where I burned till I blistered when I was small.

And don't even get me started on my teenage years when I slathered myself up with baby oil and baked on the beach!

I'm pretty much the poster child for people who are at-risk! YIKES!

Goofball said...

I don't really have many moles, but I did have an allergy check-up at the dermatologist 2 weeks ago and the one mole I find very suspicious (and has been checked already 4 times by different doctors) has been approved as perfectly safe once again :)

I will continue to show it every year though ;-)

Anonymous said...

This makes me thankful I had a mother who protected my fair skin from the sun as a child, and that as an adult I was too busy working to lay out and get tan. At 50, I don't think I've ever even had a sunburn, and I don't have any freckles or moles either. There would be nothing for a doctor to check.

Anonymous said...

Don't even pretend to kid yourself anonymous! My recommendation - have a test! Especially if you have blue or hazel eyes ...
Anonymous II

christina said...

Both my husband and I have been putting off making an appointment for ages but we both really need to. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous #1 - people who have never been out in the sun can STILL get skin cancer. You can get it on the bottom of your feet!

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