In 2008, I made a new friend on my left forearm. Well, maybe “friend” is a little too optimistic. This tiny weirdly shaped mole that itched me day in and day out had grown a bit since I last looked at it. To be honest, it looked a little like a bacon bit. I thought nothing of it and kept on keeping on, but after a week of itching, it became super painful. Time to see the doctor.
I sat in the exam room, waiting for my doctor without the slightest thought of cancer crossing my mind, Not even the six page write-up about it in the free copy of Prevention Magazine triggered anything. My doctor came in after the usual chit-chat looked at my mole.
“That doesn’t look good,” he said with a grimace.
Long story short, I left my doctor’s office with a referral to a dermatologist in hand.
By now, the mole was looking fairly gruesome. The speed in which it had developed amazed me. In two weeks it went from rather tame to ball of rage and lightning. The dermatologist took a little scalpel like device and scraped off a piece before staring into a microscope. He swiveled back to face me and said the magic word: “Melanoma”. My jaw sort of hung funny and before I knew it I was lying on an operating table.
Upon recovery, I learned that they successfully removed it. I was relieved but still had a month of radiation therapy ahead of me. It’s been six months and after many check-ups and luckily, I’m cancer free. I work indoors and always thought if you weren’t in the sun a lot, you weren’t at risk. I’m not sure if the sun caused the mole on my forearm to mutate into a lethal killing machine but I do know this. Get yourself checked, routinely.
If anything, moles freckles, ink stains, it doesn’t matter, if it look suspicious or it’s painful or itchy, don’t wait. Go to your doctor and get it looked at. Had I waited or blown it off, it could have killed me and untreated, it can kill you too.