Irish/English Heritage with Long-Standing Family History of Skin Cancer
Last updated: November 2020
Growing up, my father would see the dermatologist/plastic surgeon every 3 months. He would have bits and pieces of his skin removed. I always knew I needed to be careful and keep an eye on any changes to my skin. My mother used to put t-shirts on us when we were at the beach or outdoor pool.
Several moles removed
I have many painful memories of spending the day in the sun. When I was 26 years old, I saw a plastic surgeon to have him remove 3 moles on my back that I didn't like. He offered to burn off the other moles while he was doing the back area. My husband counted 40 spots that he had burned. I didn't mind the discomfort, and over the years, have been thankful that they were gone. I have many scars on my back, but I figured it was worth the peace of mind to have the moles gone.
Now when I see the dermatologist, I can tell them any moles they see on my back are new. Much easier to keep track of. I am now 57 years old and am on the 6-month check-up plan at the dermatologist. My brother was diagnosed with Stage 2 melanoma at age 33. He is doing fine and continues to be free of melanoma. He has had basal and squamous cell along with my older sister. My mother also has had skin cancer.
My first basal cell diagnosis
I had my first basal cell diagnosis a year ago. Caught it very early. I was actually watching a mole near the very tiny red spot. I kept thinking the red spot was just a scar that was eventually going to disappear. When I went for my 6-month checkup I pointed it out to the doctor, along with the mole next to it. Both were biopsied and the red spot was the basal cell. The other mole was my usual dysplastic nevi.
A year to the day of my basal cell diagnosis, I was diagnosed with melanoma stage 0. I had seen the doctor 4 months earlier to look at a concerning lesion. I was watching a mole grow back in an area that had been biopsied 5 yrs earlier (benign) and have been showing it to the doctor during the last 3 years. She always assured me it looked fine. This time I had noticed it changed. Before it was just growing in size, but looked normal. Now it was like a brown crayon smudge. It was a solid color but seemed to have a waxy shiny appearance.
This was different. She spotted it right away and said she agreed with me and should be removed. This area did change in less than 4 weeks. I had a plastic surgeon do a wide deep excision to remove any possible cancer cells left behind after the original biopsy. This was done in July and my back of my arm near my elbow has healed fine. The skin is still sensitive if I bump it or stretch the skin when I rub it against something. I am thankful for SkinCancer.net. This site has been very helpful to me. Thank you.
Do you sunscreen in the fall?