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.