|Amy's melanoma. Not what you'd expect, right?|
Amy has generously allowed me to share her picture because, unfortunately, I never thought to take one of my own. People often ask me: "How did you know you had skin cancer? How did you know when to go to the dermatologist?" Truth is, I didn't really know until I had a biopsy that my mole was cancerous. Like Amy's, it wasn't big, black, or scary. The only reason why I even went to a dermatologist to have my skin looked at was because I has a history of using tanning beds, and there were a few freckles or moles that had popped up as a result of all the UV exposure (one of those "new" moles ended up being malignant).
A few months before I had the malignant mole biopsied, I asked the guy I was dating: "Do you think this mole is ugly? Do you think I should get it removed?"
"No," he said, "I think it looks cute." Cute? How can cancer be cute?
Last month, the Huffington Post did an article on a survey that suggests nearly half of us don't know how to spot a cancerous mole. This is a frightening statistic because early detection is key in preventing skin cancer-related deaths. The Skin Cancer Foundation has some great information about self-exams on their website, but I also encourage you to see a doctor if you notice any changes in freckles or moles. And remember: it doesn't need to be big and black to be deadly.
How did you find your melanoma? I'd love to hear. Also, if you have any questions for Amy, leave a comment below and she'd be happy to answer them!