Talk rationally to me

Posted By
Girlfromohio
5/17/2017 4:21pm
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Replies: 6

I do not have melanoma. I am, however, terrified of getting melanoma. I have many many moles and have recently started getting skin checks in the past couple years. I'm 34, btw. Because I am so paranoid, I had a full body check in February and 1 biopsy (came back benign). I was back at the derm last week to look at a couple more spots and she wasn't concerned about them. Then today, I notice a new spot on my face. Mole, freckle, sun spot, I don't know. It's totally irrational to think a melanoma could pop up that quick so soon after a derm visit, right?? I feel like I am so hyper aware now I notice any new spot that surfaces. Should I be running to the derm again with this?? I honestly feel like I'm going crazy.

also I hope no one gets annoyed by these posts from people who don't even have melanoma. I lurk here often. 

betsyl - (5/17/2017 - 5:40pm)

I understand. After my husband was diagnosed Stage IV, I became paranoid about myself and our 15-year-old son. I'm always screaming about sunscreen. I've had a mole check and a biopsy.

All I can say is 1) be cautious 2) live your life. Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer. Your odds of getting it are most likely exceedingly low. But be cautious anyway. 3) for your own sanity, stop coming here. Coming here often can make it seem like everyone has melanoma, which is an illusion.

Best wishes!

-Betsy

Janner - (5/17/2017 - 10:28pm)

Watch for change.  New and like all your others is ok.  New and "ugly duckling" is suspicious.  Hard not to be paranoid but taking photos and monitoring for change is your best offense with melanoma.

Jamie1960 - (5/18/2017 - 12:14pm)

+1 on "ugly duckling" - your ABCDE periodic self-check should always include this (and may also reduce your anxiety)

Anonymous - (5/19/2017 - 5:06pm)

Hey there. I'm in the same boat. Long time lurker, first time poster -- and I do so with caution as to not take away anything from those who have actually been diagnosed, but I've also realized there really isn't a great forum anywhere for people to talk to those at higher risk for various reasons. 

Just a quick bit about me: I'm a 31 year old male and basically self-diagnosed myself with atypical mole syndrome after back-to-back benign biopsies last year had me in a panic. I've always been a bit of a worrier (and info seeker), so after experience I began researching online and often found myself here and other medical journals. It was disheartening to learn on top of being self-conscious of my skin throughout most my life -- though I learned to live with it -- that having many moles and its associated risks was never communicated to me by either by physician or my dermatologists throughout the years.

Neither of my parents have many moles nor does anything run in my dad's side of the family, so I think we've all been oblivious to the risks (meaning more sun exposure than I would have liked as a kid) -- however my mom is adopted (makes me wonder a bit) and my sister also has had a few moderately atypical moles removed. Basically all of the new information I acquired to me left with more unknowns than certainties, and through a year of talking with my dermatologist (and yes, seeing a therapist for a bit too) I have to accept that uncertanity and ultimately take the best precautions, but keep living life. Live in the moment. Fear and uncertainty should not win the day.

I now see my dermatologist every six months and keep an eye on my skin on a monthly basis. I take photos of anything that might look different (more often I look back and it isn't, and if it is, I note it) and take overall body photos and archive them every six months. 

Basically I'm learning to "know my skin" which is probably the best advice I've seen. It was kind of a scary process at first because I'd never examined it so closely, but it's become empowering with time. To me, it resonates as the best offense for catching anything early.

The other thing I've learned and which is still the hardest part -- though still working on, because to be honest I was reading this today because what I now think is (likely) a pimple piqued my anxiety -- is having a little more patience when it comes to any changes in my skin and not to panic or obsess over every little thing. I also have some acne, so after some embarassing frantic trips to the dermatologist over an acne scar and a stubborn ingrown hair, I try to give anything I notice a week or two or monitoring and do my best to not get anxious about it.

Janner's advice here and in other posts has resonated the most with me...know your skin, protect your skin, see your derm regularly, don't let fear win and live your life.

Anonymous - (5/19/2017 - 5:26pm)

PS Talking rationally: Very likely it's nothing, various pigmentations can occur as we age. I'd say if it's concerning you that much, take a photo of it. Keep an eye on it over the next few weeks and refer to the photo if you're not sure. If it continues changing or gets more concerning, get it checked out.

UBContributor - (5/18/2017 - 12:14am)

you are doing alright, just have your skin checks occationally, that's is what drs recommend anyway. The problem is that most people never get checked until it is late, me included.