I’m a Melanoma Survivor
May is Melanoma Awareness Month and instead of boring you with statistics and info about UV rays,
I will just tell you what you can look for and what to be concerned about.
About 4 years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Melanoma. I had a mole on my ankle that had been growing and rapidly changing; it was bigger than a pencil eraser. I remember always telling my family that I knew it was cancer. I finally got the balls (excuse my language) to go get it checked out and sure enough it was melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. I remember getting that phone call from my doctor. I sat there in my living room kinda in shock, not really believing what I heard. I was about to go pick up my husband from basic training and realizing I had no way to get a hold of him to tell him. I had cancer! What happens now!?
They scheduled some appointments for me to dissect more skin around my mole to check my lymph nodes and then finally to schedule my surgery to remove the melanoma. The surgery went well and they removed some lymph nodes from my knee and groin and thankfully it hadn’t spread! They removed a huge section around my mole and stapled it shut and now I have a narley scar on my ankle. I don’t mind the scar. It reminds me that I need to check myself and those I love. You can never be too careful with your skin. I now have to go in every 4 months and get mole mapped. What is that you ask? Well, lets just say I get scanned in my au-natural in front my my doc and nurses to see if anything has changed on my body. ( I guess I am really close with alot of my nurses. haha)
This post isn’t to care you, but I would like to make sure you, our readers, are educated.
What do you watch for?
Its called the ABC’s of melanoma
If you notice anything like this happening on your body, PLEASE go see your dermatologist. Don’t be like me and put it off until it starts getting deeper in your skin.
Melanoma on men usually occurs on the chest or back, on women it occurs on the lower legs
It is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S.
In women 25-29, melanoma is the primary cause of cancer death, and in women 30-34 it is the second most common cause of cancer death.
In the U.S. your chance of getting melanoma in 1940 was 1 in 1500. By 2004, it was 1 in 67. By 2016, scientists predict it will be 1 in 50.
If caught in the earliest stages, melanoma is entirely treatable with a survival rate of nearly 100%. If untreated and allowed to spread, there is no known treatment or cure.
Also, I know we all know that tanning beds are bad, sun is bad, and you need to protect yourself!
WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN!
Wear your sun hats and make sure your kids are covered, too!