Why you should get a skin cancer screening even in your 20s and 30s

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Don’t mind the crazy band aid on my nose, I’m playing it safe

A few days ago I had an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss a tiny bump that I have had on my nose for the last 3 years. I wanted to do this post since many people in their 20’s and 30’s are not aware of what the many hours baking in the sun (or tanning salons) can possible do to you years from now. I have always loved being outdoors, and have in my 20’s definitely did my fair share of tanning beds..but in my 30’s I gave up doing that and made sure to start using SPF on my face daily. Fast forward to this past week, and the tiny flesh colored bump, which would occasionally bleed and get red, had just been getting on my nerves and I had to have it taken care of.

I had gone to see the dermatologist a month before my wedding to just get an idea of what this thing was. No one else noticed it but me, and I had always covered the tiny dot with concealer, but after doing some research online I got scared. They say that any bump or lesion on the face that doesn’t heal, or that is persistent and either itches, scabs, bleeds or grows can be a sign of skin cancer, or basal cell carcinoma. Of course having just lost my mother to cancer five months ago, I am scared and so I made the appointment to go in and have it biopsied. I was going to do it on my first visit, but they told me not to do it before my wedding as it takes time to heal. I was also told that you will have to avoid sun on the biopsy area for a few weeks, which would not have made sense going on my honeymoon.

So I went in to get this done once and for all. I had a feeling inside that this was not normal, and it was more of a pain in the butt than anything. It was on the top part of my nose, the size of a tiny pimple. Every 2 months or so it would get red and then bleed, and when it would bleed it wouldn’t stop. The slightly rub of a towel on my face would set it back off. When I went in on Friday to the doctor, she said I could either wait until the fall, when I wouldn’t be in the sun as much, and see if it went away. I knew it wasn’t going away so I said let’s do it today. The first thing they do is clean the area, then with a needle filled with lidocaine (numbing liquid) they shoot it into your nose. I have to say that was not comfortable at all! I felt the needle going in my nose, moving around and the liquid burned like hell. I had tears well up into my eyes.

Thankfully they said that was the worst part. After that, they come in and they shave off the top layer of the skin with the raised bump to be sent off to the lab to be tested. Since that area tends to bleed they then had to cauterize the area to stop the bleeding. That didn’t smell to pleasant, but thankfully I felt nothing. I was sent home with a bandaid on my nose and that was it. They said it will take two weeks to get my results so now I’m just waiting around for that to come in. I hope it is just a negative result and then I can have some piece of mind. I have to leave the band aid on for a few more days, keep the area clean and put antibiotic cream on it so that it stays moisturized.

I would highly recommend if you have a bump on your face or body that isn’t going away to have it looked at. Some towns even offer free skin cancer screenings to check all of your birthmarks or dark colored areas to see if there is anything suspicious. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Here is a link to help you find a free skin cancer screening in New Jersey: https://www.asds.net/find_volunteer.aspx

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