It’s National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and summer is just around the corner, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about the moment in 2011 that made me realize how important sun safety and regular dermatology appointments really are to all of us.
Back in 2011, I noticed a spot on my forehead that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. While some might wait a while before getting something like that checked out, I was at the dermatologist just two days later.
It was just a sun spot which she froze off right then and there. Then I remembered a mole on my neck and asked my doctor to take a look. She wasn’t concerned, but I suggested a full body check (I now have a much better dermatologist in Chicago) and it turned out there was a mole on my back that needed to be biopsied–one I didn’t even know was there.
A few days later, I received a very insensitive call from a nurse who threw out some very technical terms and all I took away from it was that I had a “severely” atypical mole that could eventually turn into skin cancer. The mole, which was not cancerous, was removed a few weeks later.
I now have my skin checked twice a year and hope this serves as a reminder to wear SPF daily and to make an appointment to get your skin checked. Shortly after my mole removal, my younger sister booked an appointment and needed over a handful of moles biopsied. Fortunately, everything was fine, but you really never know.
It’s so easy to push off that dermatologist or dentist appointment, for some reason, but for me, seeing both doctors at least 2x a year is a must, because there’s nothing more important than taking care of your health and catching something before it becomes an issue.
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t always the best at applying sunscreen regularly and that years ago, I was probably putting on less than half the recommended amount. It’s something I’ve gotten much, much, better at. I lay out at the pool a lot during summer but tend to park myself under an umbrella.
Look for changes in your skin please see your dermatologist annually. The mole I didn’t even know existed was the one that needed to be removed.