Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Overall Health - Get Your Skin Checked!!

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times likely to develop basil cell carcinoma. These are just a few of the facts about skin cancer. A friendly reminder that you need to take care of your skin!!

As part of my New Year's Resolution, I've moved my focus to overall health. That means that yesterday my husband and I took our annual visit to the dermatologist for a full body scan.

Neither of us try to tan, and are always extra cautious when going out in the sun. I always apply at least a SPF 50+. That doesn't mean that we don't still need to keep an eye on things.

For years my husband had a couple moles on his arm that he didn't feel good about. As we moved around the country and visited new primary care physicians for check-ups, my husband always brought up the moles. Was it something he should get checked out further?? The answer was always the same - "Nah, don't worry about it."

The lax point of view from several doctors still didn't make my husband feel better, so about 18 months ago we decided that it was bothering him enough to get the opinion of a dermatologist. The dermatologist removed the moles immediately and had them sent to the lab for biopsy.

The results came in. The mole in fact had mutated, pre-cancerous cells. It wasn't skin cancer, but left alone had a very good chance of developing into cancer over the next 20 years. My husband and I were both so relieved.

Moral of the story - Primary care physicians don't know everything. In fact, there isn't a doctor alive who knows everything. If you have a health concern, don't be afraid to get it checked out by a specialist or get a second opinion. You'll be glad you did, even if only for peace of mind.

1 comment:

  1. Holly your posts are so great. I love that you write about important topics that we should be thinking more about.
    Last year I went in to get some moles checked (I go every year because I have tons of moles). No one in my family has had skin cancer, but one of my moles came back as cancerous. I have a pretty gnarly scar from where the mole was. :) It is most likely from all my sun exposure as a kid. I grew up in San Diego and always got burned when we went to the beach. Now I always us spf 50 on myself and my kids when we play out in the sun for long periods of time.

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