Although this is not the usual kind of information I enter on the Peyronie’s Disease Treatment Forum, it is important to discuss because the cancer information you will read is important for any age audience, especially with the large number of seniors who are registered.
Even though this is not totally a Peyronie’s disease topic, there is a strong PD message at the end.
If only Peyronie’s Disease was this easy to figure out
A little over a year ago, my wife asked me about the black mole on the back of my left shoulder. As in many of my conversations with her, I replied, “Huh?”
Twisting and stretching around, I examined myself in the mirror. To my surprise I saw a flat black mole, slightly oval and right at ¼ inch across, that seemed to have come up overnight. Good grief, Peyronie’s disease audience, what does that remind you of?
I knew that this flat black mole had the potential to become a melanoma, a malignant skin cancer, so I was concerned.
Melanoma skin cancer facts
The primary sign of a melanoma is any change in size or color of a mole or other skin growth, such as a birthmark. A melanoma may even grow within a mole or birthmark that you already have, but they usually grow in previously normal and unmarked skin anywhere on the body. Most often, they appear on the upper back (like mine) of men and on the legs of women.
Melanoma usually looks like a flat, brown or black mole with uneven edges, and an irregular or asymmetrical shape. When a melanoma is irregular or asymmetrical, one half of it doesn't match the other half. Mine was nicely even or symmetrical. Melanoma are not small, meaning they are usually in the larger range of those funny things that sometimes appear on the skin, ¼ inch or more.
However, I knew that a melanoma in its very early stage can look like a mole.
Moles are harmless skin growths that can be either flat or elevated in one or more areas. The color of a mole can vary from pink flesh to dark brown or black. The number of moles that a person has depends on the genetic nature of the person and the amount of sun exposure during childhood. I was in the sun a lot; getting at least one or two bad bouts of sunburn was just something that seemed to happen most every year I can remember. Moles sometimes appear in clusters and groups in different areas of the body, especially during the early teen years. It is rather rare that a mole will eventually become cancerous.
A skin doctor or dermatologist looks for “the ABCD's” to make a diagnosis of melanoma:
1. A – Asymmetry – any two halves of the mole do not look the same
2. B – Border – edges irregular, not perfectly round and smooth
3. C – Color – not a solid color, but many different shades /
4. D – Diameter – larger than ¼ inch across
Also, if you notice that at any time a mole is becoming active and changing more than your other moles that you have, it should be checked by your doctor.
If you have ANY ONE of the above findings, you should immediately see a doctor about the mole, because it could be a melanoma.
I was good with all of these, except maybe the diameter issue, so I decided to see a dermatologist. After waiting almost a month for an appointment, the dermatologist moved and spoke like a man who was totally bored and did not want to be in the office. I got the impression he felt like he was a factory worker who had long ago lost interest in what he was doing.
After a very brief examination and scraping of the tissue, I was told that my mole was a mole, and nothing more. He said it "must be removed," so it could not at a later time become a melanoma. I was given just two options for in-office removal: scalpel surgery ($$) or laser surgery ($$$$). No other information or treatment was offered. When I asked if there were other options, I received a curious and wrinkled look as though I had asked something really stupid, and he just shook his head “no.”
I told him I would think about it. And I did think about it – for 2 seconds.
I remember reading that in many parts of the world, bloodroot paste has a high rate of success and is used to remove moles, melanomas and other skin lesions. When I got home I Googled “bloodroot paste” and found a very interesting and informative site from South America that sells a small jar for $9.95 plus shipping. Within two weeks I started to apply it, using the directions that were included.
In less than two weeks the mole fell off, and left the cleanest and nicest little crater of skin where the mole used to be located. It is now in the process of healing, and filing up nicely.
On top of that, I still have an almost full jar of bloodroot paste left over. Of the original $10 jar, I figure I have used less than 25¢ worth of the paste. A pretty good deal. I wonder if the insurance companies know about bloodroot paste?
Peyronie’s disease connection
The message of this blog post that I write today is not that you should treat your moles with bloodroot paste. No; that is only what I did. You should do what you and your doctor decide to do if you have a mole or you think you have a melanoma.
The message today is that this is another great example of how a medical doctor sees and thinks in a certain way, and leads a patient in that one direction only. The tunnel vision of the doctor allows him or her (and you) to think in one direction only. I guess you would not expect the Ford car salesman to sell you a Chevy, anymore than you would expect a Chevy car salesman to promote a Ford.
So, when you see the urologist about Peyronie’s disease, he will give you the usual patter: “Yep, you have Peyronie’s disease. No one knows much about it; there is no known cause and no cure. Surgery is the only sure cure for it. Yep, if it gets so bad you cannot have sex any more like a lot of men with this problem, I’ll just cut on you and that will take care of it. Let’s wait a year to see if your Peyronie’s disease clears up on its own, or it gets so bad that you need surgery. In the meantime, try not to worry. Oh, you might become impotent; if that happens, don’t worry, I can give you a few drugs that usually work. If you want to try some vitamin E, you can do that, but it really doesn’t help. Any, remember not to worry, OK? See you next year. And don’t worry.” End of discussion, and out the door he goes. And you sit there deep in worry.
I did not get information about my mole from this doctor, and I sure did not get options other than HIS two choices of surgery. I am glad that I knew about these options before I walked in because the conversation was more about the two choices of scalpel or laser, like it was my only choice between coffee or tea.
The medical doctor lives in a very nice world in which he or she thinks there is nothing outside of medicine and surgery. The drug industry, the hospital industry and the insurance industry all work together to make sure all patients know that there is absolutely no one that knows anything about your body, your wellness, your sickness and disease, and your eventual death, more than your friendly MD.
Everyone says it is so important to get a second opinion, because, you know, two heads are better than one. But, the drug industry, the hospital industry and the insurance industry, all doctors, nurses and others who work in the health care industry know that it is not acceptable – and dangerous – to say or do anything that contradicts the primary care doctor. You could get sued. There is that mysterious power of “How dare you! That is MY patient!” that controls and limits access to different ideas.
When a person goes for a second opinion, it is actually very difficult to get a true second opinion. Asking for a true second opinion turns out to be an exercise in which the second doctor is usually given a chance to say that the first doctor is correct. This is the famous buddy system. Did you ever notice that for the second opinion, the second doctor wants to read your chart so that he or she can see what the first doctor did and said about you? This is done so that the second doctor knows the direction to go with your problem. The second doctor wants to read the first doctor's chart notes so he knows what to say – so he does not go against the thinking of the first doctor. All of this happens so that the patient is not made to lose confidence or faith in the medical doctor. Is this not true? Does society agree with this arrangement? Sure. Is this a good arrangement for different ideas and information to be given to the patient who would like options? No.
So much for exchanging information or learning anything new, or challenging the established way while looking for a better, safer, less drastic form of health care.
And thus you know about a different way that I decided to treat my mole, and a different way that I decided to conduct my Peyronie’s disease treatment. If I did not think in a different direction I would still have Peyronie’s disease.