Donate For AAD Members Search

Go to AAD Home

Courtney’s personal story

Courtney Hodac
One day I noticed a small pink spot on my forehead. I didn't give much thought to it at the time. After a few months, I noticed it hadn't gone away or changed as most pimples or blemishes do. I was curious about what it might be, so I mentioned it to the physician's assistant at the end of my regular dermatology checkup. He had noticed it but didn't say anything because he thought it was just a pimple that was healing. 

His demeanor changed when I told him it had been there for several months and that it had bled once while I was washing my face. He immediately took a "sample" so he could perform a biopsy. He assured me that it was nothing life threatening, but I could tell the situation was serious. A few days later, I received a phone call informing me that I had basal cell carcinoma. I was scheduled for Mohs surgery. While the surgery itself was a bit nerve-wracking (I had to go back for several "rounds"), I was thankful for an incision that healed quickly without any complications or plastic surgery. 

I've always had very fair skin, but I never thought I was "at risk." I use sunscreen. I've never visited tanning booths. I don't spend long hours outside, and I don't "sunbathe." Although I've had a few burns in the past, they never blistered or seemed severe. I was 33 and much younger than the other people I saw in the waiting room. However, I learned that everyone can be at risk. I also learned there are three different types of skin cancer, and each one can do damage even when you can't "see" it. 

My experience has taught me the importance of paying close attention to my skin and looking for anything that seems unusual. Something that seems harmless might not be. I'm also extra careful about protecting my skin and spotting any other "blemishes" early. After all, I'd like to keep my skin as healthy as I can.