Dark spot

scalp bump concerns

So this mark appeared on Kevin’s scalp. His thick, gorgeous salt & pepper hair hid it, until he accidentally combed a bump in the fall, which bled. We didn’t think much of it, since I get bumps on my scalp now and then. He lived with it for awhile, then finally asked me to look in early December.

The area looked like a dark bruise, and he thought he recalled bumping his head. Since it often takes my scalp a long time to heal (sometimes weeks) I told him to put peroxide and an anti biotic ointment on it. I’ve noticed as my hair greys I often get a bump, then the pigment of the hair changes once the sore resolves itself. The girls have told me sometimes they get them from using curlers or a flat iron if it’s too close.

Christmas came and went. On January 31 he asked me to look at it once more. The area around the slim scab and small bulbous area was dark black now, as if  he had outlined everything with a Sharpie. I asked him if he wanted me to take a quick photo so he could see, hence the photo above. I told him he had to see a doctor asap. He went to work in his wood shop – so rather than wait, I made the appointment for him the next day, 11:00 am. The doc then referred him to a dermatologist, and we had to wait until this morning, February 5th for it to be examined. The official size: 7mm x 10mm. The dermatologist sent for an immediate punch biopsy, and now we wait in pensive ignorance to see if it’s necrosis, or melanoma.

It’s an odd scenario, this waiting. Like the calm before the impending storm (or so you fear). We nervously try to talk about other things and joke when we can. The possibility of cancer is a sobering thing. You hear about it, but when it’s you, you completely reevaluate everything in your life: where you are, where you’ve been, what has happened, what is yet to do. We’ve talked a lot the past few days and he’s told me stories I’ve never heard before.

Punch biopsies are not tiny. First the dermatologist gave him some local anesthesia via tiny needle (not painful at all according to Kevin). They take a plug a bit larger than 1/8″, and several mm thick, hair and all. Kevin said he could feel them going down to his skull! I wasn’t aware we have that much tissue on our heads! This, of course, is so they can determine whether or not it’s cancer, and at the same time determine what stage if cancer is present. I have read to insist on this, rather than a scrape method, since scraping the tissue can change the depth of the cells when it’s time to measure.

I have read just about everything I can find on melanoma.

Perhaps this will all turn out fine. I have begun my favorite emergency 3 Day Novena (also posted on this blog if you want it).


3 thoughts on “Dark spot

    • My mother has these too and it drives me crazy that she doesn’t get them checked out. Seborrheic keratosis can look a lot like melanoma at times – and chances are that’s all this is – however no doctor knows for certain without actually getting a biopsy. Since our lives were terribly altered from melanoma I tend to be on the paranoid side when it comes to skin care. A quick trip to a dermatologist is an inexpensive way to know for sure.

      Another important thing to consider is that dermatologists specialize in skin care, just like obstetricians specialize in delivering babies – so if you have concerns about skin issues, you want to request an appointment with a dermatologist. You may have a fabulous, regular doctor, but they don’t specialize or see melanomas every day. Many people I’ve come in contact with online previously had a doctor tell them it wasn’t skin cancer, when a dermatologist did a biopsy and found out otherwise.

      Melanoma is definitely on the increase, and there are many, many cases of melanoma that do not fit typical criteria that most general docs look for. In fact we think Kevin’s primarily melanoma looked like a literal hole in the heel of his foot, and his doctor told him it was nothing to worry about. Since melanoma can be deadly if not caught early, it is always prudent to see a dermatologist since he/she is trained to look for and test for melanoma. In fact, I now recommend regular skin checks to everyone in the family because most of us can’t see moles in all places.

      Remember – chances are it’s not melanoma, so don’t panic. But it is always good to encourage her to spend a few bucks on a dermatologist to know for sure.

      Here’s a link with more info:



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