Yes, that’s right. Today is Melanoma Monday and that means it’s time for a reminder to check yourself for moles and schedule an appointment if you notice anything that doesn’t look right.
I had moles that turned out to be dysplastic nevi removed a couple of years ago after going in for a checkup. Since then I’ve been back several times, and each time have had moles removed. Fortunately no more of the bad ones since then. Thank you God for that!
So how do you check yourself and what should you be looking for? Click here for tips on how to perform a self exam, and you can also download a body mole map to document the occasion.
Skin cancer is preventable. The first line of defense starts with you!
Can you spare 45 seconds? Ok, even just 15 seconds? Then take a look at this:
Two of the first four photos are things that you don’t want on your body. They were on mine but they’re gone now. The other two are as well.
Those first four photos show the four moles that I had removed last year. After having them tested it turned out that two of them were dysplastic nevi.
What is that, you might ask? According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, they are ‘unusual benign moles that may resemble melanoma.’ Fortunately in my case the ones that were removed were in their earlier stages and my doctor informed me that it would have taken another five to 10 years for them to possibly become something serious. (See: I’m just fine so please don’t worry everyone!)
But here’s the thing – they could have become melanoma if the doctor hadn’t removed them. That’s cancer. No good. It really opened my eyes when I learned this last year.
It’s part of the reason I was back in that same doctor’s office this afternoon, having three more moles removed. Obviously I was thankful those other ones were gone and I wasn’t about to take a chance with these ones.
Last year it was one on the ankle, one on the calf, one on the stomach, and one on the back. This year it was one on the arm, one on the calf, and one on the thigh. The inner thigh, people.
While obviously no place is a good place…this particular spot is not a place where you want to have doctors carving out cancerous stuff someday. So I had it removed on the advice of my doctor, along with the others.
The procedure to have moles removed is painless. They numb you – they excise the mole – they close the wound – you leave. The whole thing took maybe 40 minutes today. That’s shorter than a lot of conference calls I’ve been on in my life…and less painful too 🙂
Anyway, I am writing this to show you that…
You should check yourself for moles that are discolored or misshapen. Do this regularly.
You should see a dermatologist or appropriate physician to have them check your skin for potential issues.
It is not at all scary, painful, or time-consuming (procedure or recovery) to have moles removed.
By getting checked and having suspicious moles removed, you may catch something that somewhere down the road (or sooner) could become a real threat to your health.
You should put on sunscreen when you’re outside and avoid excessive exposure to the sun if possible.
So check yourself. Make an appointment and get yourself looked at. Use the fact that it’s Skin Cancer Awareness Month as your reason if you have to. Don’t think twice about it. Don’t be stubborn. Don’t procrastinate. Just take care of it. Not because I told you to…do it for yourself!
UPDATE: All three moles came back completely negative this time around. Very thankful here!