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Anxiety About Getting Skin Cancer

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  • Anxiety About Getting Skin Cancer

    I have horrible health anxiety (AKA a nice way of saying I'm a hypochondriac). A lot of people think that I'm being ridiculous, and there are times when I know that I am. However, I have many risk factors for skin cancer, if not all of them -- I have blonde hair, blue eyes, was born fair-skinned, I have used the tanning bed (stopped a couple years ago), have a good bit of moles, and in 2012 the dermatologist found a melanoma on my brother's back (it was very very early staged, and he hasn't had any bad visits to the dermatologist since).
    So basically, instead of feeling like it COULD happen to me, I feel like it absolutely WILL happen to me and that it's only a matter of time. I'm terrified. I stare at my moles every day and try to decide if I think they're changing. I had my annual skin exam in December of this past year, and the dermatologist looked at my moles under the light that they use and said they look fine. However, two weeks later I was back in his office because in my mind, the spots he told me to "keep an eye on" started itching and felt tender. He removed them and they were benign.
    Five months later, it's now sun season again and that alone has spiked my anxiety. I have been in the sun a couple times (with SPF 30-50, mind you) and I already feel almost like I'm ruining myself and that I'm setting myself up to get melanoma. I already made another appointment with my dermatologist. I told the office it's because my psoriasis is coming back (and it is...) but I really wanted an excuse to get back in the office so he could check out some moles that I'm worried about.
    I do have moles that are irregularly shaped/have multiple colors but last time I went to see him he said they looked okay under the light.
    Has anybody else ever experienced health anxiety like this? It's getting to me so much lately that I'm having trouble concentrating on anything. I'm even going on a vacation next week and I'm more afraid of being in the sun on vacation than I am excited about BEING on vacation. I feel so terrible and on the verge of tears! Please respond and let me know how any of you have gotten over this.

  • You won't get skin cancer!

    Seriously, I'm not sure what else we can tell you ....it sounds like you're already doing what you need to do in terms routine exams and use of sunscreen etc. to minimize your risk. If you still feel unaccountable anxiety over it hon, it's probably something you should see a professional about. Next time you see your primary, explain your issues and ask for a referral.
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS][COLOR="#800080"][B][SIZE=4]Woman trapped inside a woman's body![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/FONT]

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