Monday, July 20, 2009

Occam Applies/Public Service Announcement

What it is, reader!

Since I am scared shitless of cancer right now I took my pale, easily-burned, freckly ass to the dermatologist last week for a mole check. Interestingly when I scoured interwebs to find some cancer screening links I found several sites that were extremely meh about routine skin cancer screening, most notably Sloan-Kettering. But whatevs, reader! I'm all hypervigilant and am bringing my message to you come hell or high water.

So, back at the derm, you get nekkid and the doctor looks at all your skin, using some thingy that sort of looks like a mini telescope, asking about family history of melanoma (no), sun exposure (yes), and sunburns (hells yes).

He decided to biopsy a mole on my back and sadly since I have never seen it I can't tell you what it looked like, except it had "irregular borders." After slicing it off (getting the anesthetic was the only pain I felt) he threw it into a little jar. For a moment I considered asking him if I could see it so I could report back to you but then worried seeing my bloody disembodied mole might make me pass-outy. Work was expecting me and I didn't have time to linger on the fainting couch.

All is fine and I don't need to go back for two years unless I find something funky. Kind of like when Heather Armstrong from Dooce did, but hers is funnier. She's got lots of skin cancer stories that I am too lazy to link here but you'll see them in her post.


Anonymous said...

OK, PC, Weird synchronicity here again...I just found out last week from my derm that I had my first "pre-cancer" removed. What is that?! Nothing to worry about, she says, but if we didn't get all the cells and it grows back, we'll remove it again and dig deeper. So if it's nothing to worry about, why must we be sure to remove it all?? I still have to go annually, though, so nothing's changed there, except my level of vigilence. And confusion.

Time for research and a bigger hat,
Urban Farmer

Professional Critic said...

Hm, great question. What makes "pre-cancer" different from any other kind of skin cell? Now why did your derm tell you to go annually, if you don't mind sharing, is this because of health history? It is confusing.

Anonymous said...

I've had to go annually since my first skin check, where the original derm's opening line was "well, you clearly have extensive sun damage" - nice, huh? Also, my dad and his parents had already had numerous basal cells and I think some squamous cells removed, so I'm in the higher risk category. I only have about a million freckles and moles on this fair skin of mine, and I don't know what they're so worried about, since I only lifeguarded for two summers as a teenager... ;-) yeah, high risk. Plus I smoked. It's all bad.

~ UF