Yesterday morning during my commute to work, the man ahead of me leaned back and went to sleep. As much as anyone can sleep during a mildly bumpy motorcoach ride.

As dawn gradually brightened the interior I noticed a couple moles in the balding spot on his head. I have seen the top of his head some months before, on another sleepy morning commute. But I could not recall whether I had seen moles on his head before. I studied the moles without leaning forward. I wondered, could these moles be melanoma?

It was awkward, but I mentioned the moles to him. He was thankful I told him. He didn’t know he had them and planned to have them checked.


Image from Melanoma article on Wikipedia, accessed 31-Mar-2012

I never knew anyone who had melanoma. Not until last summer, when a fellow bike rider mentioned needing to have some suspicious moles removed. Melanoma, caught early, before it spread. I don’t know her very well, but the admission caught my attention.

A few weeks ago I found out Pamela Hodges had it removed from her leg via her blog, I paint I write. I don’t know Pamela very well, but I used to work with her husband. The admission definitely caught my attention.

Thanks to the unseasonably early spring, I have been able to ride my bike. Part of riding is applying sunscreen. Moles, sunshine, sunscreen, and admissions of having moles removed remind me of Dear 16-year-old Me.

Moles, sunshine, sunscreen, admissions of having moles removed, and Dear 16-year-old-me remind me that I had a blistering sunburn on my back before I was two. This greatly increases my chances of getting melanoma, but so far so good.

Make a habit of checking your skin, all of it. And use sunscreen.