When Did You Last See a Dermatologist?
If it’s been awhile, I hope that setting up an appointment will be on the top of your New Year’s Resolution list. An annual appointment was not on our radar until our early 60’s, but at this point — it’s a MUST.
Why? Lots of reasons. For us, the number one reason is not any visible skin or cosmetic problems (we have typical wrinkles and aging) but for SKIN CANCER DETECTION.
FACT: Pre-cancerous skin spots cannot be seen or accuately analyzed by an untrained eye.
Many years ago, I had an odd, very small (half the size of a dime) spot on one shin. But it never went away. It was there for a long time and when I asked about it at my annual physical exam, the general practioner referred me to a dermatologist. They did a biopsy, and that crazy little-teeny spot was cancerous! They were able to surgically remove it, and it was not a big deal. BUT it could have been if I had ignored it.
When our children were very young, a dear friend had a similar spot on her right index finger. She asked the pediatrician about it at a routine appointment when she was there with kids, who said it was “nothing, really” but if she wanted to make a specific appointment for herself, she could.
Several months went by and as a very busy mother, she didn’t pay attention to it and didn’t have it checked out. Without any warning, her husband’s job suddenly changed and they moved to a distant state. As she took the children to the new pediatrician, she mentioned it again. The new doctor insisted on a biopsy for her finger — pronto.
It was determined to be an extremely aggressive cancer. Her finger was amputated within a day or two, and she was and is FINE. But she wouldn’t have been without this new doctor and his more assertive opinion. They felt that God had protected their family with this sudden, unexpected move and new medical care.
THE POINT IS: Even DOCTORS don’t always know a cancerous spot when they see one. Annual visits with an EXPERIENCED DERMATOLOGIST are an important part of our overall health!
My Own Cases In Point: Two years ago I had what I thought was a small, nearly invisible wart on my forehead hairline. I was dead wrong. It was a cancerous spot that needed the MOHS surgery.
At my last annual appointment in November, there was a small mark above my lip that to me looked like a wrinkle. (There’s no denying that I’m getting pretty close to 70.) As Jason (my nephew the dermatologist) looked at it through his special lens, he said,
“I’m worried about that upper lip. It, alone, definitely needs to be treated. Equally important is that it’s indicative of other spots that will also emerge in the next few years. We can treat it spot by spot, or do a comprehensive preventative treatment that will address this spot and future spots much more effectively.”
I opted to go ahead with, as he called it “The Big Kahuna.” He has a very cute sense of humor. This treatment addressed all these spots at once. That procedure is now behind me and was fully covered by insurance.
With those thoughts in mind, I URGE you to make sure that if you haven’t seen a dermatologist recently, that this is the year you decide to make an annual visit a priority!!!!
Here’s a neat article I found to emphasize why it’s so important:
And as a bonus, here are two more: