Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Letter to Dermatologists and Primary Care Doctors

Dear Dermatologists and Primary Care Doctors,

You are, as a rule, our first line of defense against melanoma. I want to thank you for being there for us, and, for the most part, doing a great job. However, I need your help in doing an even better job…and I say the following knowing it will not apply to all of you. But we still need your help in being our advocate with your colleagues.

I am hearing from many of my stage 0 (in situ), 1, and sometimes even stage 2 melahomies that they feel you aren’t taking their melanoma and skin cancer concerns seriously. And yes, I do separate melanoma our from the skin cancer category. Let’s face it, even seasoned melanoma specialists do not always recognize melanoma when it presents itself. Those “ABCDE” rules do not apply to each and every melanoma. And they especially usually do not apply to people with darker skin tones than Caucasians.

Please trust our gut and if our gut has a concern, simply remove it and send it to pathology. Every time we ask. We’ll either be right or we’ll be wrong, but we’ll be SURE and more at peace. PLUS, we’ll rise up and call you blessed. Right now, if you aren’t taking your patients’ concerns seriously, “blessed” is not what they’re calling you!

It won’t be any skin off your nose, so to speak, to remove a place of concern. It won’t be your scar or your fight. And if you leave it on there and it spreads too much before it finally IS removed, it won’t be your death either if it gets to that point.

We need compassion and we need you to take our concerns seriously. If we are more than you feel comfortable handling, please swallow your pride and refer us to a melanoma specialist. We realize not all dermatologists make melanoma and skin cancer the focus of their practice and we know primary care physicians aren’t melanoma specialists. So, please refer us if that is in our best interests. Know the melanoma specialists within a few hours drive from you. Let how far we’re willing to travel be our decision.

All we want is a fighting chance against this deadly disease. Please give it to us. And remember, if you’ve never had your own melanoma diagnosis, and we pray you never do, you don’t understand what this diagnosis does to our emotions and psyche. This is very true of our friends who have lower staged melanoma. Doctors, I’m stage 3b and my dermatologist take MY concerns very seriously. I want ALL my melahomies to be able to say the same thing, no matter what their stage is. You can make that happen.

Thank you doctors and God bless!

Rev. Carol Taylor
Hotel Melanoma’s Chaplain Boss Queen and admin of Melanoma Prayer Center on Facebook