I’m going to ask you to do me a favor by the end of this summer. It’s a simple request that will definitely give you peace of mind. All you have to do is make an appointment with a local dermatologist and get a full-body scan.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), “1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.” That’s 20% of us! That statistic alone should make you want to pick up the phone immediately and call a dermatologist! You should want to make sure that your skin is cancer-free!
Based upon my conversations with family members, friends, co-workers, and Fairfield County Mom contributors, I am going to hypothesize that roughly 50% of you already get your skin checked once a year. For those of you who do go, it’s probably because you spotted something that alarmed you or you’ve already had a long-standing relationship with your dermatologist. If you are one of those readers, awesome job! Hopefully, you can convince at least one more person to follow our lead!
If you have yet to get your skin checked, you may be thinking that everything on your skin is normal. But I know all too well that there are areas on your body that you either overlook or physically cannot check yourself.
I started getting annual body scans about 20 years ago, at the request of my aunt. (Another AAD fun fact: “women are more than 9X more likely than men to notice a melanoma on another person’s skin). As I hugged her goodbye, she spotted something on my scalp. She immediately went into doctor mode, expressing her concerns about the suspicious dark coloring of a mole. She insisted that I see my dermatologist before returning to college the following week. I somehow managed to make an appointment during the end of that Thanksgiving break, and thankfully, the pre-cancerous mole was caught in time. A few weeks later, I had it removed at the university hospital.
After the quick surgery, I remember sitting in my sorority house and finding out that a handful of my sisters had also had something suspicious removed from their skin. Similarly, when I surveyed the contributors, a handful of them also shared that they have had at least one removal. The removals have spanned all parts of the body with the face, back, and legs being the most common.
Check, Detect, Prevent
I (and a couple of the other contributors) have had multiple removals. Please know that I am not trying to scare you! Only two of my 20 years of annual body scans have resulted in biopsies and subsequent out-patient surgical removals. Only three of my dozens upon dozens of moles turned out to be atypical. I am not scared of the sun, and I protect myself as much as I can while in it, but I am realistic about how easily skin cancer may develop and how easily it can be prevented.
Thus, I beg you to please schedule an appointment with a local dermatologist to make sure that your spots are just beauty marks that give you character. As my own mother says time and time again, “Better safe than sorry!”
Here’s a round-up of some local dermatologists the Fairfield County Mom team trusts and recommends:
- Dr. Pesce in Bridgeport
- Dr. Klein at Modern Dermatology in Westport
- Denise Gallo, NP, at Skincare Physicians of Fairfield County (Norwalk and Stratford)
- Dr. Smith and Dr. McBean at Fairfield Dermatology
- Dr. Godwin and Kate Thompson, PA-C, at Dermatology Physicians of CT (Norwalk and Shelton)
- Dermatology Center of Stamford (Dr. Pruzan and Dr. Marsh)
- Dr. Evans in Stamford
- Dr. Gettler in Stamford
- Dr. Wilder in Trumbull and Westport
- Dr. Goldman in White Plains (close enough!)