March 29, 2012 9:26 AM Subscribe
How do people with lots of moles monitor them for signs of cancer?
posted by Sternmeyer to health & fitness (27 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I have a lot of moles. My left forearm alone, elbow to wrist, has 33 moles. My face has a baker's dozen that I can see in the mirror. I would conservatively estimate that I have, in total, over 200 moles on my body.
Lately this has been bothering me. It doesn't help that I periodically get asked if I am worried about skin cancer. In one case, a dude told me that a mole on my face looked bigger and that the commenter's relative died from skin cancer so shouldn't I get that removed? I went to a company outing and apparently my back looks like a "million pieces of fly shit" that might all be cancer from sun (thanks, Malaysian lady!*). A coworker told me he was glad he wasn't me because with this many moles I probably already have skin cancer.
My initial response is basically fuck you very much for your concern and commentary on my harmless skin marks, but it's starting to get me wondering. How am I supposed to monitor these things? I briefly toyed with the idea of a mole spreadsheet, tracking various attributes, taking pictures, but then I realized just how crazy that sounded. Right now I am kind of noting the ones that I can see and that seem worth watching but with so many of the things I am starting to wonder if it's even worth bothering. A doctor told me "you'll know if one of them gives you trouble" but that sounds a little stupid.
The appearance of the moles doesn't bother me. I grew up with them and they are part of who I am. I would let the whole thing slide if it wasn't for the cancer angle that everyone and their dog seems to want to comment about. It bothers me that they might be a health concern that I am currently not monitoring because of the magnitude of the task. Therefore my questions are, in order: should I be concerned about being, um, moley? If so, how do I decide what to monitor or should I actually make an effort to monitor them all?
*Apparently this is a common idiom in Malaysia, that moles are places where a fly shit on you. At least, that's what came out of her mouth when everyone at the lakeside BBQ suddenly turned and gave her the silent stare when she came up with that particular gem.