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Dr. Val: Poster Child for Skin Cancer Risk

May is skin cancer awareness month, and Revolution Health has created an awareness campaign to help people become more educated about their risks. In a unanimous vote, I was selected as the blogger/spokesperson for skin cancer awareness – probably because I’m “the fairest in the land.” Well, the truth is I’m so white I’m actually closer to light blue – couple that with a high freckle count and green eyes and you’ve got one very high risk lady.

So I’ve decided to see a dermatologist once a year for a full skin check. I must admit that the first year I went I was convinced that I’d be biopsied into oblivion. The only way to be sure that a mole is not cancerous is to take a sample and check it under the microscope. So any doctor with a conservative eye would need to do a lot of “rule out melanoma” testing, right? Wrong. I was happily wrong. Dermatologists are trained to recognize individual freckle and mole patterns, and don’t do a biopsy unless they see an “ugly duckling” mole – one that stands out from all the others. I was so excited to escape the office with my skin in tact that I vowed to be obedient and return for a yearly check up.

If you are fair skinned and/or have had a significant amount of sun exposure in your life, or if people in your family have had skin cancer, you should definitely check in with a dermatologist to make sure you don’t have any suspicious moles. The doctor will tell you how frequently you should have follow up exams.

Here are some things you can do right now:

Find out if you’re at risk for skin cancer and learn what you can do to prevent it.

See what skin cancer looks like.

Check out my recent interview with Dr. Stephen Stone, past president of the American Academy of Dermatology, about skin cancer and about tanning salons.

Coming soon: the true story of my blogger friend who had a basal cell carcinoma removed from the side of her nose. She required plastic surgery to fill the gap, but it looks great now!This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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One Response to “Dr. Val: Poster Child for Skin Cancer Risk”

  1. PearlsAndDreams says:

    THEY CAN FILL IN THE GAP??????  No one told me that!

    I’ve got a fairly decent (indecent?) gap from a melanoma on my nose. It becomes really prominent when the lupus rash decides to roar. (white scar …well, DIVIT the size of my THUMB rash ..oh yeah) 

    I’m Irish Pale … blue eyes … should be blonde ..but I’ve got enough Apache in me that I got the brown hair. (tan like you wouldn’t believe …took complete advantage of it as a teen/young adult …my skin is paying that price now, thus, the melanoma …add the immunosuppressants …eeps!)

    Ran into my dermatologist today. Just out in a parking lot. I’m evidently not allowed outside without a hat on.  I went and bought 5 hats in varying colors cause she said she lives near me and doesn’t want to see me again outside without a hat on!! OOPS!

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