I have cancer





But not the kind that will kill you.  Hopefully.  I don't share this to be dramatic but to raise awareness.

My last two years as a pharmaceutical sales rep, I called exclusively on dermatologists.  I learned and witnessed a lot in those offices.  The skin is so visible and the damage is literally in your face sometimes.  As a late twenty-something, I vowed to take better care of my skin but do you know that 80% of skin damage occurs before the age of 18?   Moms, please protect your kids.  Here's my story.

Two weeks ago I went in for my annual skin check at my dermatologist.  (Honestly, I went in for reasons more related to vanity but opted to face responsibility while I was there.)  She noticed a suspicious spot on my back, biopsied it and a week later (during my beach vacation no less) she called to tell me it was a basal cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma, slow growing form of skin cancer.  

I wasn't completely surprised considering my fair complexion and carelessness as a teenager.  I worked as a lifeguard for several summers and frequented the tanning bed, despite the known dangers.  Self tanners were just gaining popularity.  Nevertheless, I was a bit sad. I felt like time was catching up with me.  The ignorance of my youth was rearing its ugly head.  Last week, my dermatologist completely removed the growth.  The spot is still very tender but healing.  I'm left with a scar about the size of a nickel and a new appreciation for preventative medicine.

The month of May happens to be skin cancer awareness month.  I also can't help but share this video.  Please take a minute to watch it because it's much more eloquent than my writing.

Wear your sunscreen and take care of you skin. I'll be talking skin care all week here on the blog from self tanners to cover ups as we approach summer.  Also, if you live in the Atlanta area and looking for a dermatologist, I highly recommend Dr. Alan Olansky, or his physician assistant who did my procedure.

Love the skin you're in.

*original image found here



14 comments:

  1. Wow that is scary! Ive had a few pre cancerous spots removed that I'm sure were caused by my teenage years. Hopefully that is the only scare you have!

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  2. Thank you so much for this, Amy! Skin Cancer is one of my huge issues (my mother has worked for the same dermatologist for 30 years). Its serious and you were lucky. Your readers also need to know to be vigilant in mole checking! I check mine and my boys' moles daily (but Im a little weird). Melanoma is a fast and silent killer. Im so glad you are fine. You had my heart in my stomach for a few minutes but Ill forgive you because we are friends (hee hee). Power to the Pasty People!

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  3. Thank you for sharing. I am rather new to this blog, and I appreciate the balance and variety of content. I do not know you at all, but you and your family are in my thoughts.

    I am glad that you were eligible for resection, hopefully that'll be the last you'll hear of this for a long time (... or ever.) Sharing this information and raising awareness is so important, especially about preventable ailments of the young.

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing this and I hope you're doing well. I have a tendency to burn and I know it is just horrible for me. Awareness is so important. Remember, pale skin is healthy skin!

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  5. Thanks for sharing. And this is a reminder for me to go get checked. Several members of my family have had it.

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  6. Thanks for making this your blog topic, and for being brave enough to share it...it's bound to impact your fans and be helpful to us all.

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  7. hey girly! sorry to hear about your scare. my cousin was recently diagnosed with melanoma and it's very scary, but i'm thankful you caught it early enough. another cause of skin cancer that is gaining more and more press is sunscreen, so it's important to find mineral-based sunscreens that aren't full of chemicals. alba organics makes some really good ones for adults and kids. hope you feel better each day!

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  8. Thank you all for your kind comments and sweet concern! It means a lot to me and I'm glad I am able to spread some awareness via the blog!

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  9. This is such a great post for everyone to read! I am very cautious about my skin in the sun.

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  10. Pale is classic has always been my motto! I have had probably 11 moles removed, some pre-cancerous. I am so sorry yours was cancerous but relieved to know it was taken care of and you're going to be A-OK. And good for you to spread a friendly reminder. Funny enough, I just contacted the director for the park behind our house requesting a shade structure for the playground since melanoma cases are on the rise.

    PALE IS CLASSIC! xo

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  11. Eeks, Amy! I got my first skin check last week, but I know I need to stay on top of getting annual checks from now on. Prayers for no recurrences!

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  12. I'm new to your blog but thanks for posting this! I just had a similar experience and it was a huge wake-up call. I am recovering from Mohs surgery after being diagnosed as well. Check out my post here... http://sweatstyle.blogspot.com/2012/05/summer-must-have.html

    Best of luck to you, I definitely know how you feel.

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  13. Thanks for sharing, Amy. Barry also has had suspicious spots removed from his skin and now we are trying to instill the importance of protection on Brooks, esp since he is so fair. He freaks out everytime I pull out the SPF, but that is a battle I choose to have!

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  14. Thank you for sharing, and I'm glad you are relatively okay. I too wasn't so sun savvy when I was younger but have now learned my lesson!

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