Have You Seen a Dermatologist Recently?

June 21, 2019

Do you remember the days of your youth when it was “the thing” to mix Baby Oil with Iodine then use that as  “tanning” lotion?  Who cared if we were frying our skin if we had a nice tan? It was easy then to think, yeah, “they” say this isn’t good for our skin, but we can worry about that when we get “old.”

It’s so easy to be short-sighted as a teenager, don’t you think?

About 10 years ago I had some skin cancer removed from my leg. Since then I have seen my dermatologist faithfully every year for a thorough examination. Just a few months ago, when I had my yearly check-up, she said I looked great. She added that because it had been 10 years since my skin cancer,  and I hadn’t had any more episodes since then, I didn’t need to see her anymore, except by request.

Two weeks after that appointment, I noticed a tiny little brown spot on my skin that I had not noticed before. I watched it and over a period of about 4 weeks it changed significantly, so I made an appointment with my dermatologist again. She didn’t think the growth was skin cancer, told me the name of what it looked like (some long strange name I can’t remember), and “shaved” it off. A routine biopsy was performed.

Surprise. The biopsy came back with the diagnosis of Basil Cell Carcinoma. That’s skin cancer.

Yesterday I had a small surgical procedure to remove the rest of the growth, which was under the skin. I have a few internal and external stitches and was uncomfortable last night, but this morning it doesn’t hurt at all.

I share this as a reminder that little things can be big things, that we need to be proactive in our own health care, and it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist for a routine check-up, even if you haven’t had any problems in the past. As a layperson, it’s hard to know what looks suspicious and what doesn’t. Actually, everything looks suspicious to me now. So I’m glad I went back to see my doctor when something just didn’t look right.

If you haven’t already done so, I hope you will consider having an exam with a dermatologist. Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early. 

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. DeLoris Musick

    I grew up in Norfolk, Va “ON” the beach. I always burned so badly because I am so fair skinned. I had a Basil Skin Cancer removed from the side of my face. I have a pretty nasty scar but it is close to my hairline by my left eye, so it doesn’t show up that much. I keep a steady eye on anything that pops up on me. I’m so relieved to hear you are alright. It’s true, the damage we do to our skin when we are young will come back to nail us.

    Reply
  2. Jean Norris

    I’m so glad you went back to the doctor. I had a small Melanoma and didn’t even see it. My doctor found it and had the biopsy done and then had to go a bit deeper! I hope everyone who reads this checks their skin carefully.

    Reply
  3. Barb Barker

    Oh my goodness! What a scary thing for you, sure glad you were on top of things! I also had a skin cancer last year, it was the oddest thing! I had a large red “blood bubble” suddenly pop up on my forearm. My doctor had never seen one before but it was a rather “dramatic” spot so there was no question about removal. It turned out to be Merkle Cell Carcinoma – which is very rare, and very aggressive. Nobody knows how I managed to get that but after the surgery to remove it and then find out it was cancer, there was a second surgery to make sure all the margins were clean and a third surgery to check lymph nodes. I had a series of radiation and am fine today. So, yes, please check out anything suspicious!

    Reply
  4. Renee

    Hi Karen – this a great reminder especially this time of the year when one tends to have more of their skin exposed. It’s a good idea to get someone to look at areas you can’t see as well. I had a similar experience with a spot on my nose. I saw a dermatologist, he sliced it off and sure enough it contained ‘pre-cancerous cells’. Last week I noticed two more spots on my nose so today I made an appointment and hope they are nothing but zits or that I caught them on time. Have a great weekend!

    Reply
  5. Janet

    You are so right….for many years now I have been going to my dermatologist….most of mine were pre-cancer but they were frozen off. I am constantly on the watch (mostly with my face) as I am a redheaded freckled person. Once when I went without me even realizing I did have a small basil cell carcinoma. Then last year I went about another spot and my dermatologist found another spot…sure enough it was basil cell! Underneath it must have been pretty big as I now am graced with a scar that is about 1/2 inch and a “dent” in my forehead. You see I have reactions with the underneath stitch knots and they pulled it pretty tight. Oh and have used 100 spf sun screen for years but was told early on that the damage was done when I was a really young kid! Just a part of life now! Went just a few weeks ago and more pre-cancer but this time it hurt. She froze it and now it is fine.

    Reply
  6. KJD

    Karen, I am so glad you were proactive. I am the same way. I have had a cyst on my neck for years. It was biopsied when I first found it and everything was negative but I still have my doctor check it out when I go for my yearly physical. Glad you got it taken care of. My husband had melanoma several years ago and see a dermatologist yearly.

    Reply
    • Karen

      I’m glad you are having the cyst checked yearly, Karen. Such a smart thing to do!!!

      Reply

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