I had my skin check appointment today. I've always been able to breeze in and out of the doctor's office unscathed- without having to get anything suspicious removed, that is. Today was different. I prepared myself for the possibility that I may have some questionable moles on this sensitive vessel of mine and sure enough as always, my intuition was right on the money. I know people have moles removed all the time as a precaution so I'm not getting worked up about it. It's especially important for me to take precaution, as skin cancer runs in my family. My father has had basal cell carcinoma removed from different areas on his body quite a few times in the past five years or so.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common/ frequently occurring form of skin cancer today. BCCs are abnormal growths or lesions that arise in the skin's basal cells. BCCs may look like open sores, red patches, scars, or pink growths. In other words- not your "atypical" brown mole that may cause you to worry. The people at highest risk for BCC are those with blonde or red hair, fair skin, and blue, green, or hazel eyes. But of course, anyone with a history of excessive sun exposure or indoor tanning are at a higher risk for BCC (Skincancer.org).
It's important to be checking your skin regularly for a number of reasons. I realized this when the nurse asked me about some of the moles I was worried about- I couldn't tell her how long they had been there, or if they had changed in size, shape, or color, and this is very important. I plan to be more aware of this moving forward.
A- Asymmetry, or when the halves are not identical, is suggestive of melanoma.
B- Border irregularity is suggestive of melanoma if it is uneven or ragged.
C- Color variation is suggestive of melanoma if the lesion contains more than one color.
D- Diameter greater than 6 mm is suggestive of melanoma.
E- Evolving: change in size, shape, or color can be warning signs and are strong reasons to have your skin checked.
Everyone should have their skin checked on a yearly basis. It's better to be safe than sorry.
As for me, I should get my biopsy results within the next two weeks. My hope is that I get my results much sooner than later. Until then, I'm filling my head with positive thoughts and envisioning the best possible outcome.
Skincancer.org. The Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. <http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/basal-cell-carcinoma>.