I have to say, I am loving the SkinCancer.net platform, and one of the main reasons why (other than the fact that there is so much valuable information on there) is that we can share our experiences, our concerns, our questions, and our triumphs in our battles with skin cancer, and we can know that we aren’t alone.
Suspicious area on your skin
As a moderator on the site, I read comments on the posts from community members and respond to them, but even when I’m not moderating, I’ll read comments from members. One thing that stands out to me as happening fairly frequently is that people have a suspicious area on their skin but hesitate to make an appointment to get it examined. Some tell themselves that it’s ‘no big deal.’ Others don’t really know what they’re looking at. It’s easy to do this, and understandable, if you’ve never before had skin cancer. Skin cancer can have many different appearances. For example, sometimes it can look like a pimple. Sometimes it may look like a dry, scaly patch of skin. Sometimes it may look like an abrasion. I’ve had areas like all of these. A common factor with all of these, in my case, was that they didn’t heal and they didn’t go away. And yes, I’m guilty of the ‘wait and see’ approach, as I don’t want to call my dermatologist every time I see something new. What if it really is just a bug bite and I call to make an appointment, only to have the spot clear up in a few days?
Abnormal skin area not changing or improving
But there are times that we should call our doctor, and sometimes we may need a ‘push’ from someone (figuratively, not literally) to make that call. Last year, I was the guest speaker at the opening ceremony for a Relay for Life. I was talking about my experience with skin cancer and how I first came to be diagnosed. I explained that I had a very small area on my face, right under my eye, that would bleed and scab over, but never fully heal. After having an area on my face for several months, I made an appointment to have it examined, and the day of my appointment was the day I was diagnosed with skin cancer. That day started my 20+ year battle with skin cancer.
Don’t postpone the skin exam
After the opening ceremonies were over, a woman approached me and said she felt like I was speaking directly to her and about her situation. She had a place on her face that wouldn’t heal and her husband had suggested she get it looked at, but she had not yet done so. She told me that after hearing my experience, she was going to make an appointment. She did and was diagnosed with skin cancer, and soon thereafter had surgery to have it removed.
And now I’ll say this to you: if you have anything on your skin that looks unusual and it won’t go away, and you’ve been procrastinating on calling your doctor, please make an appointment with a dermatologist to have it looked at. If anything, it will give you peace of mind if it turns out to not be skin cancer, and if it is cancerous, the sooner it is treated the better. Take good care of your skin; your future self will thank you!