Not-So-Beauty Spots

sunlight.jpgToday, Kate shares a skin care PSA:

“Born with various skin sensitivities and a preternatural tendency to sunburn, I have spent my fair share of time in dermatology offices. I work hard to take care of my skin with a complicated (and expensive) regimen of creams and ointments, and now pride myself on having entered my mid-30s with healthy and happy skin that rarely feels direct sun and generally rewards me by looking decent even on days when my daughter wakes in the middle of the night.
And so it was with particular alarm that I heard my dermatologist announce at my annual check-up that I had three (three!) concerning spots that she wanted to excise, biopsy, and possibly further treat. Wait, what? Skin cancer? But I'm only 36! And I wear sunblock every day, even in winter!

One minor surgery, three stitches, and four weeks of worry later, it turned out that two of the spots were normal and one only mildly abnormal, although it will require additional surgery. The whole experience was both scary and eye-opening for me - I had known neither how common melanoma is (even for young people), nor how serious if not caught and treated early - and has made me enormously grateful for my sharp-eyed dermatologist and my access to top-flight medical care.

The lessons I took from this that I wanted to share with you: Know your skin, even better than you may already think you do. Don't ignore funky looking freckles or spots that pop up or change out of nowhere. And get regularly checked by a professional dermatologist - not just your GP - who will look you up and down and address anything that seems abnormal. And wear sunblock, every day.”

For more information, visit the CDC’s section on skin cancer basics.

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Image credit: Wikipedia