Jen’s personal story
Although I have many risk factors for skin cancer and regularly used tanning beds in the past, at the age of 34 I had never been to a dermatologist and never had my moles checked. I was naive thought it was something that only happened when you were "older."
I only went to a dermatologist last fall because of a growing lump on my back that turned out to be a benign cyst. During that visit they suggested a full body mole check, due to my fair complexion, blonde hair, blue eyes, and many moles. During that check she identified two moles that were suspicious; one of which I would never have been concerned with because it didn't look suspicious to me.
One mole came back as pre-cancerous and the one that didn't bother me ended up being malignant stage I melanoma. I've since then had 10 more moles removed, 6 of which were also pre-cancerous.
This has been such an eye opening experience and I have realized now how important it is to have your skin checked regularly, regardless of your age. Skin cancer does not discriminate! That random visit literally saved my life and I am now focused on making sure others are diligent about knowing the risk factors and having their regular checks!