HHH on Beauty: Mole in One

My skin looks a bit like the product of a Chas Tenenbaum grade school science project: generally ghostly white with brown spots all over (this image alone shows six moles). This Dalmatian quality has always terrified me, but as a gal who likes to torture herself and procrastinate, I just remained terrified for around a decade.  But last spring, on the cusp of hitting 30, I finally mustered the nerve to hit the dermatologist.  By the end of the exam, my previously empty chart stretched to two pages, but only two moles were carved out of me, one by a plastic surgeon.  I didn't have cancer (in those places), but I do have a little ghastly crater on my back. Just as things have finally healed, it's time to go back. It's very terrifying business.  On one hand, a gal who spends $100 on face cream and generally relishes a pimple-free adolescence cannot spend her (pre marriage!!!) adult life covered in craters.  On the other, a gal does not want to die at age 32 from melanoma.  But now there may be hope.  One of my clients* has developed the MelaFind -- a device that sees up to 2.5 mm below the surface of the skin, analyzes the mole and then helps the doc make a decision whether to biopsy.  Dermatologists think it could help find melanoma earlier -- and help prevent a lot of unnecessary biopsies.  There was great data on it last week and the company's filing for FDA approval soon.  Fingers crossed for all of us pasty, spotted folk out there.  In the meantime, though, get the spots checked regardless and remember to wear your sunblock and pith helmets.

* While I don't normally mix business (the healthcare PR career) with the blog, this one felt highly relevant.


  1. from one fair-skinned blogger to another: this is priceless news, a great lead...

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great news. I often worry about it as i have had to have one removed as well.

    off subject, but Is that a rugby rl sweater? looks great.

  4. It is! I have four of them (orange, blue, navy and black).

  5. Hollister - An annual ritual for me. Even the ones they've removed, "probably fine," are cause for worry until the result come back. This is good news indeed.

  6. I too am spotted. About ten years ago, during a normal checkup, I had my favorite little dot just below my belly button scooped out -don't know why I liked it so much and it was surprising how attached I was to it ..... how much I hated that scar. Now my very pale Scottish/Swedish skin has managed to recover and the scar is almost invisible - hint no sun on the scars for the next couple of years - that is the best news I can give you. (along with cheers that there were no signs of cancer - very good news)

  7. Anonymous says:

    that is exciting news. i had a mole on my lower calf removed 3 times and it kept coming back. each time i was told it looked fine so i almost didn't have it removed again. well wouldn't you know -- third time was the charm (or curse) -- results came back as melanoma. i was 30 yrs old and petrified. luckily it had not gone too deep and only a wide excision had to be done. now 5 yrs later i am done with my annual follow up visits, but make sure to get my moles checked regularly. i hope everyone reading this does the same - always better to be safe than sorry. thx again for the info and always enjoy reading the blog.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A very good public service announcement.

    For high risk people, I have learned that not all dermatologists are equally equipped. My wife was referred to a specialist at a major medical institution that has a much more powerful microscope (that must be the wrong word) than most dermatologist generalists. We are told that it allows the dermatologist to make easier determinations and to byopsy far less moles. I am sure it is not as strong as your client's lens, but my point is that people at risk should make sure they are at the best available facility. My wife's doctor books 6 months in advance.

    "And don't forget the sunscreen."


  9. Anonymous says:

    I have the orange sweater and the grey one. love it!

  10. Yep -- that "microscope" is, fittingly, called a dermascope. What's so shocking, though, is that early melanomas can have all their irregularity under the surface. There's one example of a little boy who had a nice, perfectly round mole - but underneath it looked like it was starting a small root system. Despite all surface appearance, it was actually a melanoma. With all the tanning that's gone on in recent years, melanoma's now the top cancer killer of women 30-35. It's so, so sad. Two of the guys who came up with the ABCDEs are working with the company on MelaFind. It's very cool.

  11. ADG says:

    Wow...what great technology. Maybe this advance will make obsolete the MOSE process of shaving incremental mole layers and doing visual exams layer by layer.

  12. about face is always business, in a good way.
    woo hoo for you and beauty marks.