The following are some stories from clients and friends about their melanoma experiences. They are good examples of the importance of getting regular mole checkups. If you need to find a dermatologist in your area, CLICK HERE to be taken to the American Academy of Dermatology find a dermatologist page.
Poor Roxanne. She had just given birth to her second child and the news of skin cancer was understandably quite upsetting. Melanoma can kill you if gone undetected. It enters the blood stream, and unlike the slow growing basal cell carcinoma, it spreads rapidly and eventually affects the entire body if given a chance.
Roxanne is now sporting a rather large (compared to the size of the mole) scar on her arm. It’s a small price for living a life fulfilled. Without the keen eye of a skin doctor, this mole might have gone unnoticed for years, eventually causing Roxanne more problems than just a long scar. Don’t delay, get your moles checked today!
Sally’s story. Sally went to her dermatologist for an annual mole check. During the examination, the doctor noted a small freckle on her back that she wasn’t even aware of and had it removed to biopsy. Sally wasn’t really worried about the removal of this spot—until the results from the tests came back: melanoma in situ, which is an early stage of skin cancer. She went in to get the area surrounding the original spot removed until no cancerous cells were found.
Sally is one of the lucky ones. Luck didn’t have anything to do with the fact that she schedules regular visits with her dermatologist. That is simply smart on her part. Her story goes to show you that these regular exams are crucial in keeping skin cancer from having too long to proliferate. Without this exam, Sally might not have ever noticed this spot on her back, and that could have been fatal in time.
Sally will now be visiting her dermatologist more often than once a year to be sure there aren’t any more problem places and to keep an eye on the spot where the cancer was removed. This is a small inconvenience for keeping skin cancer away. Found early, skin cancer is treatable.
Ronald’s story. My friend Ronald was in town on business, and we met for dinner one night. He asked me about the book I was writing at the time, and I told him I was currently writing the section on melanoma. He proceeded to tell me his father’s skin cancer story.
His dad had a biopsy done on some unusual moles, and for whatever reason, never got the lab results back. The doctor never called him, and he just figured no news was good news. Unfortunately, he did have malignancies, and over time they took over his body, and he eventually died of malignant melanoma. This is one of those rare cases of an oversight, but it can and does happen.
I tell this story so you will be sure to get the lab analysis of any skin biopsies that are taken, even if the tests show the growths are benign (non-cancerous). This may seem obvious, but every once in a while a mistake takes place due to human error, as this story so tragically illustrates.
I keep reiterating to “get your moles checked” for a reason: This simple act can save your life—literally. Don’t take seeing your dermatologist for granted. In this case it is better to be safe than be sorry.
For more information, see:
For more information, see:
- Skin Cancer ABCs
- My Skin Cancer Story: Please read this!
- Basal cell carcinoma: Introduction
- Skin changes due to sun exposure