Most of us would rather skip a visit to the doctor whenever possible, but several years ago I began a fruitful relationship by seeking out a dermatologist.  In the years since I have been for myriad reasons such as seeking relief from breakouts and excessively oily skin to treating pesky spider veins. Rather than embarking on an often futile self treatment, they can help you determine if that skin roughness is eczema or just excessively dry skin, recommend a course of treatment for acne, find out the latest laser technology for aging skin and help you through all your skin-related suffering. I practically have them on speed dial.

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.