I have had a big nasty mole on my ear for almost ten years now. When it first really started to grow, I was scared of melanoma and I went to a dermatologist, just as I thought I should. I was 22 years old, I think.
This particular doctor was an older man with a very Christian office atmosphere - Christian radio playing, Christian literature in the waiting room, even Christian inspirational posters in the exam room. He looked at my mole in a magnifying glass and then looked at the intake form I had filled out, and said "didn't they tell you this sort of thing would happen if you went on birth control pills?". His tone of voice seemed to say "didn't your other doctor warn you not to be a sinner?"
His next comment really shut me down. "You and I both know that you just want this off for cosmetic reasons" he said. "There is no reason to charge your health insurance for this".
I left that doctor feeling horrible. At the time I think I had an even bigger knee-jerk guilt-complex than I have today, and I felt really bad about myself. He said the mole was "nothing", but I couldn't get a second opinion - at the time he was the only dermatologist in town on my health insurance plan.
Fast forward to today, ten years later. The mole has been growing, it has been hurting, and it is irregular shaped and multi-colored. And another mole popped up nearby and it also has been hurting and looks weird. But I was more afraid to go see a dermatologist than I was to maybe have skin cancer. That bad experience with one doctor has made it very hard for me to practice proper preventative medicine. I did finally make an appointment with a different doctor (I looked for a female one, hoping a female doctor would be less judgmental).
Today's appointment was completely different. My new doctor was a pregnant woman who's exam room was full of pictures of her family. She came in, looked at it, said "that is one weird looking mole - how long has that been on there?", tsked when I told her how long and who had looked at it, and then just immediately pulled out the scalpel and cut that sucker off. I should have biopsy results within 14 days.
I'm pretty sure it's not a melanoma that has been sitting there for 10 years untreated. But I'm also pretty sure that I didn't need to have this painful growing thing on my face for 10 years either. I wish that the first doctor had been more Christ-like, and less Christian. Or maybe he was just a jerk. Let's not make mountains out of moles.