Skin Checks on My Mind

Since young adulthood, I’ve been pretty aware of what good sun habits are. Maybe it was years of baking in the sun as a kid and teen that made me feel like I needed to make up for it.

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.

Comments

View Comments (5)
  • BHPen99
    11 months ago

    I would call the office. You paid for that test, even if it was through your insurance and you deserve the results. Don’t assume it’s ok. Melanoma 06/07/16 🙁

  • Marcia moderator author
    11 months ago

    Hi BHPen99,

    Thank you so much for your message. I called the office as soon as I saw this and they let me know it was a compound nevus with benign results. I didn’t even realize that the test was actually back from mid-November. Really appreciated your encouragement. Hoping you’re doing well since your melanoma diagnosis.

  • Marcia moderator author
    12 months ago

    Thanks, April! You’re right, I should just call to put my and mostly, my mother’s, mind at ease

  • April Pulliam moderator
    12 months ago

    I am so glad you nagged until you got results! Like you, I have been surprised at the harmless appearance of my basal cell carcinomas compared to the more sinister-looking dark moles that turn out to be benign.

    As far as not hearing back, that must vary by office. I always hear back even if it is by mail. My doctors have always told me that mail is good, and a call is bad. Regardless, though, I have always been shown very specific results from the lab. (I did get a personal call from my doctor herself one summer when the lab they used actually lost my sample. That was an unusual call, to say the very least!)

    You might want to give your doctor’s office a call and find out what their procedure is regarding biopsy results. If nothing else, it will ease your mind to know that everything is, indeed, fine.

  • Marcia moderator author
    12 months ago

    Thanks, April! You’re right, I should just call to put my and mostly, my mother’s, mind at ease 🙂

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