Summer and sunshine always cause me problems…I have very fair skin and burn easily. I also have hundreds of freckles. Even sitting in the shade, which is my natural place under umbrellas, hats. trees…I still manage to attract some sort of glow. Put me in a boat (I love being on the water) and no matter what I do, I invariably go far too red. Over the years this has landed me in all sorts of trouble with soreness, blisters and the almost inevitable malignant melanoma. Fortunately this was diagnosed before it became critical…a ‘freckle’ on my leg had developed into second stage skin cancer, but was caught before doing too much damage. However it did sufficient damage for I had to undergo an operation where everything was gouged out around it – tissue, muscle etc (rather as with dry rot when you need to ensure that the damage hasn’t spread too widely), followed by a skin graft.
Ever since then I have been assiduous in checking the numerous brown spots on my body – not that I would be able to tell whether they had changed colour or size…but I take note of some of the larger ones , and when I ask the experts, they look at me with pity and tell me that they are only ‘warty’ sort of growths that you get as you grow older. In fact they are called Seborrhoeic Keratoses, can be lumpy, can feel a little rough and can be seriously unattractive…but at least they don’t kill you. They can be removed either with a blast of liquid nitrogen and frozen off, or they can scraped or shaved off…so I suppose unless they become uncomfortable or inflamed I might as well learn to live with them. However it’s the other little spotted brown numbers that need careful scrutiny and that is why I go for regular check-ups at The Mole Clinic.
Almost next door to the London Palladium this specialist service offers peace of mind. A nurse with a microscope and a beady eye examines every inch of your body from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head. Anything that veers from the norm, she photographs, downloads on her computer and dispatches to some skin clinic at a German university. Within 24 hours you get a response which is when you hare off to your doctor. Last year, there were two marks which didn’t meet with beady eyed approval. At St Mary’s Skin Clinic, one stayed and one was removed with alacrity. This year, the remaining freckle was checked again (the Clinic keeps your records) and nothing appears to have changed. Phew! A further check of the remaining specks and it’s all clear.
For £140 it is, for me, the best value in town.