« Friday iPod Random Ten | Main | The Greg Kinnear Weekend »

September 16, 2006



ick, now I am itching...


Hi Karen -

Please don't worry about this. I have, and have had since childhood, a whole lot of oddities sprouting out on the old epidermis here and there, including an abnormal amount of what the French call "beauty marks" and the Anglophones call "'moles", and it turns out this year's visit to the dermatologist reveals that the smoothest, palest, least-yukky looking freckle on my forehead is in fact indeed basal cell carcinoma. To which my derm added right away, "I don't know why they still call it 'carcinoma' because it never kills anybody."
As I now understand it, the thing is this: if you do have a basal cell carcinoma, it needs to be removed. Some fine day. Not because it's going to spread and eat your body up from the inside, but because in another thirty years it will be the size of a quarter and look bad. Melanoma is the one that spreads, and the only form of skin cancer that you really need to worry about, i.e. get taken off right away. And get this: according to my dermatologist having basal cell carcinoma is no indication that one is at greater risk for melanoma. My mother, whose greatest pleasure in the summer months from about 1942 through 1950, before anyone had any inkling about the value of sunscreens, was spending all day at the pool working as a lifeguard, has had a number of basal- and squamous-cell carcinomas removed AND some melanomas, none of which developed to the point of being dangerous. And by the way she is now 80 years old and in great health.
So the real message is: get checked often and if they find it early enough you'll be fine.
And don't skimp on the sunscreen. For the first time in my life I have started wearing a hat in the summer. A nice Panama that my wife found intending to wear it herself, but since we have the same head size...

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo


Search this blog!

Follow me!
Karen Potischman Wise's Facebook Profile