Skin Checks on My Mind
Last updated: February 2020
The first time I decided I needed a skin check was during my work on a sunscreen labeling study at the University of Pennsylvania. I was digesting a lot of information about skin cancer and decided it was important to see a dermatologist. I was told everything looked fine, but I asked them to shave off a mole near my belly button that had changed over the years and one on my back that itched near my bra strap. They both came back benign and then I didn't think about it much. I continued to use a daily moisturizer with SPF all year long, and also continued to nag my boyfriend to get his skin checked.
Fast-forward five years to my job interview for Health Union where I learned I'd be hired to help launch SkinCancer.net. I was ecstatic and then proceeded to think about the importance of skin checks again. This prompted me to nag the former boyfriend/now husband that it had been 6 years since I asked him to go for his first dermatology visit ever. He finally conceded and ended up needing a pre-cancerous spot on his collar bone excised. Much to my surprise, it looked pretty harmless compared to the areas I had been concerned about for years (one of which turned out to be seborrheic keratosis).
I also had my dermatologist do a skin check for me but was less than satisfied with the thoroughness or lack thereof. I wanted the bottoms of my feet checked (I have 3 moles on my left foot), in between my fingers, my scalp, and more checked. I decided to go again when a colleague recommended her dermatologist and she was much more thorough. It never hurts to get a second opinion. This dermatologist wanted to remove a mole on the side of my stomach (or love handle, if you wish) that was asymmetrical and had a dark spot.
My biopsy for this mole occurred a month ago and I haven't heard back with results. I'm assuming no news is good news. I'm not concerned but am wondering if it's normal to not hear back when results are normal.
Do you sunscreen in the fall?