I had been meaning to go for a skin check for ages. For anyone who doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about this is where a dermatologist has a good look at your skin; moles, freckles and anything else you may be aware of (or not aware of!). Mapping is a little different and photos are taken too. I didn’t have this.
I’m very fair-skinned and have a lot of freckles and small moles. If you do any googling (which is bloody stupid but I seem to keep doing it) you will see those two factors alone put you at a higher risk of skin cancer. I’ve also burnt before but now I take care of my skin a lot, wearing hats, factor 30 plus sun cream and putting it on under my make up when I’m out and about. I also wear a rashie on holiday, over my bikini when in the water. See below!
I’ve talked frankly on the blog before about my battle with health anxiety and this is something that always flares up for me after a baby. I guess it’s that horrible fear that something could happen to me, leaving the kids. It’s irrational, it’s horrible and something I’m working on. But it does mean obsessing over the smallest thing on my skin. Is that a spot? Has that mole changed? Is that normal. The list goes on. I knew having a skin check wouldn’t stop this anxiety for good but it’s something that would help and I could get advice for the future. Plus if the doctor found anything, I could deal with it.
I have to say this isn’t something you can do privately without having to pay. I do have health insurance via my husband but this only covers you if I have an issue. So if I’d seen my GP and he was concerned about a mole and referred me, that should be covered. I went off my own back so had to pay and this cost £180. So not cheap but worth it.
So I literally called up the local private hospital to me and managed to get a recommended Consultant. I got in the next day! I didn’t know whether to crap myself or be pleased!
I took the little dude with me, who thankfully slept the whole time.
Skin Check – What Happens
I was called in and asked why I had come. I was frank and said I was worried about a mole on my face and generally a bit of a worrier. I also said I’d never had my skin checked and thought it was time due to my complexion.
I was asked about my medical and skin health. Had I had skin cancer, had anyone in the family had it? Did I smoke, drink or use sun beds? Was I outside a lot and what did I do to look after my skin?
Then the examination started. My dermatologist used what looked like a small microscope to check my face. All was fine.
Then I was asked to strip down to my underwear and she would look closely at the rest of me. She was actually more concerned with a red patch on my skin that had come from my strap rubbing and questioned me a lot. Luckily it went down so she knew just a mark. She also told me that the lipoma (a benign tumor made of fat tissue. They are generally soft to the touch, movable, and painless) I thought I had under the skin on my left leg was actually a dermatofibroma (a common and harmless knot of fibrous tissue which occurs in the skin). Totally fine but if grew may need to be removed. This was interesting as two GPs had said it was a lipoma and it was odd I had one!
My skin check was fine. Big fat phew!
There was nothing to be concerned about. We had a general chat about what to look for and to come back or see my GP if a mole changed or I had a spot or mark that did not heal within 2-3 weeks.
What if she Had Found Something?
If something was found (I have family and friends who have had this happen), firstly insurance would be likely to have covered any treatment needed, as recommended by a Consultant.
I would have had to come back for either removal or possibly the use of a cream to get rid. This all depends on what is suspected. The milder basal cell carcinomas can be treated with a cream or you can have removed. Anything that is removed is usually sent to histology for testing routinely. Anything more serious would have course been removed.
If more skin/flesh removal is needed you come back again.
Cosmetic Mole Removal
The Consultant did talk to me about cosmetic removal of some of the moles on my face. I have a patch on my right side with about 5 or 6, which I have always disliked. It would be pricey (around £800) but it something I am considering and she consented me then and there if I decided to come back. It shouldn’t scar but there is a 5-10% chance anything removed could come back.
I’m glad I went for my skin check. I know it was a bit pricey but I wanted all my skin to be looked at and I now feel I know what to look for. If anything changes, I will go to my GP or consider a skin check again in the future.
How about you? Have you ever had a skin check?