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Seeing spots? Ignore them at your own risk.

by Dave Horn, marketing director at Iagnosis/DermatologistOnCall

I wish I would have been as smart as Kristen.

It started out small. The little spot of rust on the 1974 Plymouth Valiant I bought from my great-aunt was barely noticeable. And seriously, it was a '74 Plymouth, so it would have been more of a hassle to get it fixed than to just spray-paint it and let it go. I figured by the time it would be a problem, I would be done with my 4 years of college and would have a real job enabling me to buy a car not made decades ago.

Flash forward a few semesters…I was driving back from my job at the outlet mall at around 10 PM when I heard a loud "KERTHUNK" followed by a screeching metallic sound and then the unsettling sensation of my car lurching to one side. I thought an animal must have darted out onto the road at the last moment and that I had hit it without even seeing it. I let my car (now really loud for some reason) drift over to the berm and I threw it into park. When I got out to look for damage, I saw part of my exhaust pipe dangling from the rear of the car. The rest of the pipe and muffler were about 100 yards back, flattened (like my right rear tire) and sitting in the middle of the road.

My plan of ignoring the rust spot until I could buy something new ended up costing me way more than if I would have just taken my car into the shop to have it checked out when I first saw the problem. That little spot of rust on the surface hid a much more extensive problem under the car, which eventually ate away at the brackets holding the exhaust pipe. The money I had saved for winter and spring break went to the local mechanic, leaving me to stay home and work over break to rebuild my savings account.

I repeat, I wish I would have been as smart as Kristen.

Luckily, my story was just about a car. When actual patient Kristen first noticed a spot on her leg, she didn't wait until it was painful or until her next scheduled check up to see what it could be. Kristen immediately went online and sent photos of the spot to one of our online dermatologists.

The dermatologist observed that it was a suspicious mole and called her into the office to see it in person and have it removed and tested. If she would have waited to have it looked at, or if she would have ignored it, the mole could have become cancerous. "I was so relieved!" is what she later told us.

So, if you're seeing spots, get it checked out quickly with DermatologistOnCall. I don't think our board-certified dermatologists will be able to help with rust on your car, but they just may save your life.