I just went through a mini ordeal. I had a wierd mole on my back that I didn't think looked right. Anyways, the prior HIV doctor I had tried to tell me it was nothing and made me feel like a hypochondriac.
So, I totally ignored his thoughts and went to my dermatologist. I had to wait for the biopsy after they removed it. A couple weeks later I got a call that it was in fact a melanoma.
I'm light skinned and had been spending a lot of time out by my pool tanning. I don't recommend this now.
Anyways, I had to go in a couple days ago for what I thought was another biopsy. I was totally unprepared. I had to have a 2nd large chunk taken out and now have about a 3 inch scar on my back which is healing.
I was told this is considered the standard treatment anytime you have a melanoma. The first biopsy apparently indicates that it was on the outer skin layer and hadn't gone further so I should be fine.
I'll have to wait to hear that all is clear on this one, but it appears I went in in time and everything's kosher.
Apparently, I'll have to go every 3 months for check ups for the next couple years just to be on the safe side.
This wasn't HIV related, skin cancers run high on both sides of my family. Luckily, no one has ever died from it.
Anyways, I'm told that chemical peels help prevent some skin cancers so I've had 2 done on my face already. Plus, they keep ya young ; ) They don't help for melanoma however.
Just thought I'd share my story because if you suspect something doesn't look right or you have a family history of skin cancer be sure to get checked out by a good dermatologist and don't wait around.