Dermatologist Skin Check: An Interview
One of the many wonderful things about community is that we can find things in common between our stories. We sat down with former SkinCancer.net team member Susan to discuss her recent skin check and biopsy...
Family history and past skin checks
Is there a history of skin cancer in your family?
Yes. My mom has had multiple basal cells removed from her face. Ironically, when we were launching SkinCancer.net I was talking to my mom and she realized she never thought of herself as having skin cancer either. My aunt had melanoma. That’s it, as far as I know.
Had you had a skin check, before your most recent one?
Yes. A very long time ago - probably 10 years ago in my mid 20s and not since then. At the time I figured this is just what people do. I had insurance so I figured I should go. I had a mole on the bottom of my foot - I had a really terrible experience and this is probably why I didn’t go back for ten years - the dermatologist said we should remove it. And then he really removed it! I was not at all prepared for minor surgery. I had to drive back from the appointment. It was kind of traumatizing and he didn’t have good bedside manner. I don’t even remember what the results were, so they must have been benign. My husband had the exact same experience with a different derm where they removed a mole from the bottom of his foot without telling him what they were going to do.
What made you go for another skin check?
I went back because I thought I should be a grown-up about it. I made an appointment and then my skin started itching. The itching did not prompt me to go but it did happen at the same time. This is making me itch right now! Also I wanted to make my husband go and I figured he wouldn’t go if I hadn’t already gone!
Needing a biopsy
How did you feel when you learned you needed biopsies?
Not great but not surprised. I fully expected to have biopsies because it’d been so long, because of the prevalence, because of my history. They did 3 biopsies and two of them were spots that I’d pointed out to her. So I wasn’t surprised by those ones. There was one that I couldn’t see on the back of my leg. I thought okay, fine. I don’t want to but I will.
How did you feel before the biopsy appointment?
As it got closer to the biopsies, I got more nervous. I don’t like surprises. I didn’t know what to expect, how much they were going to take, how much it would bleed. I was self-conscious about the one on my face and how it would heal since I didn’t want a scar. I was more nervous than I expected to be, and even more nervous about the second procedure, going into the margins. I actually took a Xanax before that one. Just half a Xanax!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this interview with Susan! She shares the results of the biopsy as well as questions she asked her dermatologist.
How well have your skin cancer diagnoses been explained to you?