Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm going to digress for just a moment. It's actually all related, it's summertime, vacation time. Folks will be out in the sun. I promise I'll keep it short & sweet.

Stay out of tanning beds, and wear sunscreen. I didn't always take this advice, and now those years spent in tanning beds & lounging sunscreen free by the sea have caught up.

I found a funky spot near my collarbone 3 years ago. Luckily it all turned out fine, but because of the type of cells found (moderate dysplasia) I'm now relegated to Dermatologist visits every 6-months. And hearing "sweety, we found some funny cells... pre-cancerous... we need you to come back in" for the first time, something in me changed. No it wasn't "cancer" but nonetheless it freaked the shit out of me and made me think about how close something like cancer can really be. As a result I've become a bit obsessive when it comes to floppy hats, sunscreen & skin checks (to be fair, I am a bit obsessive by nature so it's not totally far from norm). I've identified all of my pre-cancerous spots myself by doing routine skin checks - looking for changes in existing moles, and noticing if a new spot appears, is red, itchy, multi-colored, bleeding, black, or is an outlier (meaning it looks different than those around it). I'm not a doctor, clearly, but I can share my experience in the hopes that someone reading this will get in to see their doc if they notice something on their skin (or on a loved one's skin) that doesn't seem right. If you'd like more info on skin cancer & detection, the Skin Cancer Foundation is a superb resource.

Ps, the results from that biopsy pictured above - moderate dysplasia with clear margins. in other words, got it before it had a chance to turn into something more!



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