May 2010 is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Month
My appointment a couple of months ago was for an almost negligible spot on my leg barely the size of a pencil eraser. Small, slightly raised and a bit rough, it just seemed to appear one day, though it had been in the making for some time. I probably would have ignored it if not for the increased attention skin cancer has garnered the past few years in magazines, on the news and practically everywhere you look. It certainly caught my attention.
An unfortunate fact of the aging process is we must now reap from what we’ve sown years earlier. Sun exposure from our past can result in actinic keratosis (also known as sun spots or solar keratoses) later on. With a quick look my dermatologist confirmed it, and since some actinec keratosis can become invasive squamous skin cancer, recommended shave removal. A quick and relatively painless process began with a lidocane injection to numb the area and then the keratosis was removed with a curette and any bleeding cauterized; all done in a few minutes. The specimen was sent to pathology and was found not cancerous. Although there are several treatments available, this was the best for me since it was the quickest, preserved the specimen for testing, and gives the best cosmetic result. The area healed well and is only slightly pink now and continues to fade. Should I have to deal with any in the future, I would use this method again.
May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Awareness Month. I would urge everyone to take note because it is a fact that skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. During this month there are many free skin cancer screenings that you can avail yourself of by checking your local newspaper, online or check with your doctor or dermatologist and of course, remember preventive measures, beginning with a good sunscreen.