Skin Cancer: The Silent Killer

by carko on December 3, 2010

A s I walked down the street with my 3 girls one September afternoon, I noticed a large truck and a street full of parked cars ahead. Curious what was going on we peered into the back yard and saw a large tent with people coming and going. There were no clowns or happy kids running around, yet the sound of a man’s voice negotiating the value of someone’s personal property in an auction setting. We proceeded back to the tent with our $3 in pocket, sat down and began to wonder what the person, whose belongings were in front of us, must have been like. You can tell a lot about someone sitting for 15 minutes looking at the items acquired during a lifetime. . . adventurous, artistic, eclectic to name a few. As the girls became anxious we went inside to view more of the paintings and belongings of the estate. To our surprise a young girl in her late twenties approached us with a huge smile and began to adore my girls and say how happy she was to see them in the house. We became close friends on that day and formed an unbreakable friendship.

As we got to know Steph, we learned that it was her Mom Diane who had been diagnosed with skin cancer and died at the young age of 54. Yes, she had lived an adventurous life, always outside gardening, scuba diving and living life to the fullest. She had a small brown spot on her toe and after years of having yearly checked-ups decided to take the recommendation from a neighbor to see Dr G. – the “best” dermatologist in the area. Within a week of seeing Dr G. her foot was amputated and the melanoma was quickly spreading through her body. Sadly she passed on and I can’t seem to shake her story.

So after waiting 6 months for my scheduled appointment with Dr G – the “best” dermatologist in the area, I had a much needed skin cancer test. With magnifying glass in hand and a small light stuck to his head, he searched every inch of my body. With brown hair and green eyes, he told me, I have only an “average” risk of getting skin cancer. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to undergo this embarrassing scrutiny for another 2 years! Fast forward 6 months later when I noticed something on my chest that just for some reason didn’t seem right – I wasn’t sure if it had always been there or if it was new. Regardless, it was the end of the year and I already hit my medical deductible, so I decided to have it looked at. Unable to get back in to see Dr G, I settled for another dermatologist in our insurance plan who saw me the next day. As I sat waiting for him I thought I was being a paranoid hypochondriac. After all, I had a extremely thorough skin cancer screening 6 months ago.

In walks Dr C. and takes one look at the spot and says… “Gee that looks odd, I’ll be right back with a nurse and we’ll biopsy that”. We’ll call you within 2 weeks if there is a problem. So today the phone rings and caller ID tells me it’s DR C’s office. YIKES! The nice women on the other end of the phone tells me the biopsy came back and I have something called basel cell carcinoma. Still in shock that they were actually calling me. I said WHAT IS THAT? She says to me in the same friendly tone of voice – “oh that’s skin cancer, you’ll need to come back next week and we’ll dig it out deeper, if we can get it all, you’ll be fine, would you like to make an appointment?”. As if she was asking if I wanted any toppings on my pizza.

So … PLEASE – Get a skin cancer screening test EVERY YEAR! Mark it on your calendars and add it to your list of yearly check-ups. Examine yourself and if anything looks new, unusual, dark, red… Stop and take the time to get it looked at immediately! Make the call today!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: