MRF Blog

Practice What you Preach

June 27, 2011 | Categories: Prevention

Part of what makes my work for the Melanoma Research Foundation is my family history of melanoma.  Both my mother and her twin brother were diagnosed with early stage melanoma when they were about the age I am now.  This means I am at higher risk than the ordinary person—perhaps by a factor of 8.

Despite the fact that the MRF implores people to have their skin checked regularly, I have fallen way behind in my own skin check.  So, last week I went to the dermatologist and had the skin check done.  Here are my observations:

1.    What they say about getting an appointment is true.  I have heard that if you want a skin check, the average wait is six weeks.  If you want a Botox injection, the average wait is three days!  I can’t testify as to the waiting time for Botox, but can confirm that I had to make my appointment six weeks in advance, so plan ahead.

 

2.    Checking the entire body takes remarkably little time.  Really, it was just a few minutes.  I was impressed that the doctor (actually, first a fellow and then the regular dermatologist) could take a quick glance and immediately identify and evaluate potential problems.  They found all the spots I have been wondering about before I could even point them out.  It’s why I chose to go to a dermatologist.  I’m glad for the very experienced eyes.

 

3.    A good doctor is cautious.  I had one spot that looked a bit odd.  The dermatologist said, “I am quite sure it is nothing to worry about, but I want you to come back in 3 months for a ’spot check’ just to be sure.”  In between now and that next visit, I’ll be doing my own self-exams to make sure there’s not a reason to move that appointment up. 

 

4.    Getting a clean report feels good.  I have known for a few months that I needed to get this done, but never made the time to do it.  But it sat there in the back of my mind for all those months.  Now that task is done, I can feel a lot better about telling others to do the same.

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