I don’t have cancer

Last week I went to the dermatologist. I have a few moles, and some of them were looking a little funny. The dermatologist did a full skin exam, and agreed that some of my moles looked funny, and she removed them. About a week later a pathology report confirmed that I have dysplastic nevi, and not melanoma. Yay! Sort of. The literature isn’t entirely clear what to make of patients with small numbers of dysplastic nevi—are they at increased risk of melanoma? What is the proper follow up interval? Dermatologists keep a close eye on these buggers, so I’ll be visiting her again in the fall.

But I was curious what would happen if I weren’t a doctor but simply a “regular patient” armed only with google. I was not pleased with the result of my little experiment.

In searching for information on dysplastic nevi, I immediately found this website. The information itself isn’t so bad, but the ads in the middle of the page lead to site’s store, where they sell some serious woo.

Product 1: Nevi-no-more soap ($14.95, all emphasis mine):

In the removal of skin moles, proper hygiene is a critical first step: enter Nevi No More Medicated Soap. Published clinical trials demonstrate that the active constituents in Nevi No More are able to impair the growth of human melanoma cells and can effectively remove skin moles and mole like substances.

The paragraphs that follow have similar claims, that a soap can somehow treat moles. They also claim research to back up their insanity, but they give no link. They do however make a laughable claim, invoking a “Dr. Jeffrey Yuen of the Sloan Kittery Hospital”. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is one of the world’s premier cancer treatment hospitals. I doubt that any legitimate cancer doc at Sloan thinks that a soap can treat moles or skin cancers, and to suggest otherwise is very, very scary. Melanomas are curable cancers—if caught early. If caught late, they are deadly. If I see a patient who delays diagnosis or treatment of skin cancer because they tried to wash it off, I’m going to be very, very pissed off.

Interestingly, this site doesn’t have a Quack Miranda Warning. It might be interesting to see what the FDA has to say.

Folks, please, please don’t try to wash away your skin lesions. See a dermatologist.