I was just diagnosed with my first skin cancer
I was just diagnosed with my first skin cancer. I had a pigmented raised mole on my right neck since I was a kid. But over the last few months I noticed it was irritated and started to get more scaly. As an oncologist, of course I immediately thought the worst, ‘I’ve got a Merkel cell carcinoma’ (a rare and aggressive skin cancer). I was like every kid I knew. We all played for hours outside, and sunburned skin was all too common. I wasted no time and got in for an exam with my friend and dermatologist (Vicki Haines, DCNP, at Atomic Dermatology, LLC). She took one look at it and said “that’s coming off.”
Thankfully, the pathology came back as a basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer). Certainly a benign lesion would’ve been better, but basal cell cancers have a high cure rate with early treatment (surgery or radiation are the most effective options) since they rarely spread.
My bottomline: If you notice any new skin changes, see your a dermatologist right away. When you go outside, don’t forget to wear and reapply sunscreen and cover up. You’re never too young or old to take care of your skin.