It’s official – tailgating has already begun in full-force at Miller Park for my hometown Milwaukee Brewers, and therefore summer weather is on it’s way. (Let’s not dwell on the fact that the Brewers are off to a terrible start – I’m not a sports blogger.) But what is also just around the corner are tank tops, shorts, and a way to show off some skin. Wisconsin summers are short, so there is a bit of a manic rush to pack in a ton of outside activities. As most of you are aware, tanning (via UV rays) is considered taboo, due to the harm it can cause for long exposure, and is constantly talked about. But I think another thing that isn’t really talked enough about is why an annual skin check-up with a Dermatologist is essential.
Two weeks ago now, I had my annual skin check analysis with my dermatologist. I race sailboats in the summer on Lake Michigan, so I definitely get hit with my share of UV rays. The annual check is my way of ensuring I’m doing my part of preventative care for myself. Sure enough, he found a mole that looked “atypical”, and within a fairly painless 10 minute procedure, removed it from my body. Here’s the kicker; it was located on the left side of my left breast. AKA, my left “side – boob”. NOT my nose, cheek, forearm, or lower leg – where most people would anticipate a problem mole to crop up due to UV exposure. The mole was sent off for analysis, and a few days later, I had the results back. It was not considered cancerous, but let’s just say it was for my benefit that it was removed. Keep in mind, I am not a topless sunbather, and rarely do my “girls” see the summer sun. My father did have a case of melanoma about 8 years now, and due to having that in my family history, this also gave the dermatologist more reason to remove my mole.
My message to you is simple but strong; it’s vital to get an annual skin check analysis with a board-certified dermatologist. Check your health insurance benefits – you may even have it covered as part of your preventative health care. This goes for guys and gals! Men and women who are in the trades that work outdoors (like my dad) are especially at a higher risk than us cubicle-dwellers. But once you develop this as a healthy habit, you will reap the long-term benefits of being proactive.