Moley, Moley, Moley
I hate the word, mole. I just want to start by saying that. I always think of that scene in Austin Powers, where they all say, “moley, moley, moley”, in regards to Fred Savage’s mole.
Growing up, my mom called my moles “beauty marks” and told me that the reason I have so many is because I am so beautiful. My pediatrician checked them at every yearly visit, and my mom was good about slathering me in sunscreen.
As I hit my early twenties, I desired to have beautifully tanned skin. Why is it that we associate tan with beautiful? I would visit the tanning salon at least 3 times a week. I didn’t protect my skin outdoors or while in the tanning beds. I didn’t want to do anything to prevent achieving a perfect bronze glow.
While I am no longer a fan of tanning salons, I do sometimes wonder about the damage that I did to my skin over those few years of routine tanning.
Changes in Existing Moles
Over the past couple of years, I had begun to notice some changes in several moles. One in particular was starting to look very scary. I would tell myself to see a dermatologist, but with the busyness of my days, weeks quickly turned to months and before I knew it, a year had gone by.
Each time I read a magazine article about skin cancer or watched Izzie’s struggle on Grey’s Anatomy, a small voice would remind me to call the dermatologist. But to be honest, I was scared to go. The mole I was most concerned about was frightening to look at and I was convinced that I would hear the words, “you have skin cancer.”
I finally made an appointment and at the beginning of May, I headed to the dermatologist. The mole that I was concerned about, caught her eye too. She called it the ugly duckling of the bunch and removed it for a biopsy. I had to wait 7 days for the results, and to be honest, the waiting was horrible and at times a bit stressful.
When I received my results, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. My mole was not cancerous, but It was an atypical mole that was on the moderate to severe side. This meant that while the bad cells were not cancerous, they were pre-cancerous. I was asked to come back in to have more skin and tissue removed and biopsied to make sure that all of the pre-cancerous cells were removed.
Both procedures were not that painful at all and now that it’s over, I no longer have to worry about that particular mole. My dermatologist does want me to come in each year for a screening.
I am glad that I finally listened to that little voice, and got myself to the dermatologist. Had I kept putting it off, and not going until years from now, who knows what the biopsy results would have been.
My goal in sharing this with you, is to nudge those of you who have been concerned about changes in any moles, freckles or spots to make an appointment with your dermatologist.
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
- Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common forms of skin cancer, but are easily treated if detected early.
- Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. However, if it is recognized and treated early, it is nearly 100 percent curable.
You can visit The Skin Cancer Foundation for more information about skin cancer, self-exams and sun-safety instructions.