A whiter shade of pale

If you were paying attention to my last post (take 100 lines if you weren’t) you will recall I was due to have a potential skin cancer checked out. Well here is how it (roughly) played out earlier today.

Cast in alternating order of appearance:

  1. Consultant dermatologist
  2. Me  (patient)

Good morning, I’m doctor *****.

Good morning. I’ve been referred by my GP

Can you show me the problem?




Why not?

I can’t see it.

At this point the CD refers to the notes she has been given by the GP.

I see. It’s on your left lower arm.

CD takes my left lower arm and spends about 20 seconds examining under a magnifying glass.

Right, I can see you have a difference in pigmentation and I know what it is causing it.

Oh! Is it serious?

It’s a watch mark.

A watch mark?

Yes, where you wear your watch your wrist is untanned – pale in fact. The leather watch strap has possibly rubbed the skin slightly too.

What about the cancer?

It’s a watch mark.

Are you sure?

Trust me. I’m a doctor.

Is that it?


Are you sure there is nothing else? What about that?

A scar.

Can I go?

Yes. Have a nice day.


Mrs. Ha and I left and as we walked down the corridor I’m sure I heard laughter in the consulting room. The total time for this exchange was less than 2 minutes. I had waited 2 months for the appointment and it probably cost the health service a few bob. I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry but I am going to go without my watch for a while to get rid of the mark. I shall call it solar surgery.