ASK AMY

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dear Amy:

This past summer I was sitting behind a woman in church when I noticed that she had a suspicious-looking mole on the back of her neck. The mole had telltale signs of early skin cancer. Skin cancer runs in my family, so I have educated myself in terms of identifying moles that look irregular.

Knowing that the mole was on a part of the body she wouldn't normally see, I pondered whether to say something to the woman. I decided to go ahead and tell her my observation at the end of service.

Amy, she was very offended. I tried to explain that I was only looking out for her well-being. Thankfully, she was just a visitor to our church, so I haven't seen her since.

Was I wrong in saying something?

MYOB or Not

I agree with your choice because this mole was located in an area that the woman seated in front of you wouldn't normally be able to see. (I would feel differently about a mole that was readily apparent to her with a glance in the mirror.)

Your intentions were good, and if she chose to follow up with her doctor, you might have made a long-term difference in her life and health. The fact that she was offended is the universe's way of showing you that no good deed goes unpunished.

I hope you did this privately and in a way that minimized her embarrassment. All the same, you can probably also understand her reaction to you; no one wants to think that her pew neighbor is scrutinizing the back of her neck, though sometimes when the sermon gets overly long, that's exactly what happens.

Dear Amy:


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