Get those moles checked for cancer!

This article has had the names of the Doctor and Nurse removed as they deemed they were only doing their jobs and were pleased for me at the outcome.

Recently I read an interesting Facebook post from a friend who has fought cancer and won.

The article described the various melanomas and how to recognise when it was time to get your-self to the doctor with anything suspicious.

Little did I know that within a few weeks I would be one of those people!

Not one to be keen for a smear test, I kept putting it off.  My friend Lynne now works at my doctors and rang me and pinned me down to an appointment.  So off I reluctantly went.

The Nurse noticed by my records that I hadn’t been near a doctor for some time and decided to update my records.  I cannot begin to thank her for the “over and above normal” treatment I received.

I ended up with blood tests, urine test and a smear since it had been so long between visits.

While carrying out my smear she noticed a mole on the inside of my left thigh towards the back of my leg.  She commented that it didn’t look right and I should get it checked by my doctor.

As I left I made an appointment to see a doctor in a couple of days.  The Doctor took one look at the mole and said that it needed to come out and minor surgery was scheduled at the doctor’s surgery.

The paperwork advised me to bring someone with me to drive me home.  I thought what a drama I’m only having a mole removed I will be fine.

The Doctor explained everything clearly and the nurse was wonderful keeping me calm yet informed.  The worse thing was the anaesthetic as it stung like “beestings” to numb the area.  I calmly listened to the two of them talking and before I realised the Doctor asked me if I wanted to see it.  Always curious I did and it was quite a bit larger cone shaped lump then I had imagined.

Never having anything cut out of my body before I was also interested in the stitches and she explained how they worked before putting 11 of them into the hole left behind.

Once again everything happened quickly and before I knew it I was heading to reception to pay the bill.  In hindsight the advice to have someone drive me home would have been good as the adrenalin and chemical mixed in my body I didn’t feel too flash.

The stiches had to remain in for 10 days and the only real issue I had was squatting on the ground for anything brought serious tears to my eyes.

Back to the doctors to have the stitches removed and hear the results of the biopsy. The Doctor started off with “It’s not good news I’m afraid” and I went WHAT??!!

The results had come back and the lump was cancerous.  Suddenly it wasn’t any of my friends or a story I had heard – it was ME.  I realise some reading this will be like – get over yourself – but this now had the potential to be quite life changing.

I was referred on to our local Hospital Out Patients for another biopsy deeper and wider than the first.  I then had to wait for the appointment letter to come.

To this day I still can’t work out whether a quick response was good or bad.  The initial letter stated it could be up to three months before I got an appointment and then within days of that letter I had a date – 30 August.

Counting down to the day I got more and more nervous as all the what if’s came into my mind.  I have had close friends lose their breasts to cancer and others nearly losing their lives.  Then one lovely individual told me a story that a person had died from a mole as their body was riddled with cancer and that was the only sign.

The day finally arrived and this time I did a 30 minute walk to the Hospital and got my daughter to bring me home.

Once again the staff were awesome.  The surgeon gave me some concern as he asked me why I was there?  My initial thought was great he doesn’t even know what bit to take off me!  He was actually being very clever and ensuring that I knew exactly what was happening by me telling him instead of the other way around.

The nurse was super caring and kept checking I was OK.  I asked lots of questions and was even allowed to watch as this time I was sitting up.  I preferred to wriggle down a bit so I couldn’t see!

This time I left with 18 stitches and was driven home.

Another 15 days later and it was back to my Doctor to have the stitches removed.

This appointment started a little differently as I had a thank-you gift and card for my special Nurse.  Ironically she was on duty that day and was again my nurse.

I briefly explained who I was and handed her the gift.  She gave me a huge hug as she had been worried about me.  She had even written herself a note to check up that I had made a doctor’s appointment.  Luckily The Doctor had also spoken to her and said that she had potentially saved my life by finding that mole.

I explained if it hadn’t really been for my friend Lynne ringing me none of this would have been found and then what?

The Doctor came in and checked the wound and this time said the results were good and they had got it all out.

The next stage is for me to have mole map done to keep track of many of the others I have on my body.

**See my next post Demystifying the Mole Map **

“A” is for “Asymmetry”

Photo supplied by Online Derm Clinic

 

A normal, benign mole should be very symmetrical. That is, if you drew a line across it, both sides would look pretty much exactly the same.

Melanoma lesions — the bad kind of mole you’re looking for — are typically irregular in shape, so an asymmetrical mole is one that should be checked out by a doctor.

 

“B” is for “Border”

B
Photo supplied by Skin Check

Non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Their outlines are usually clearly defined, and they make an obvious shape.

A melanoma lesion has notched, uneven, and blurred borders. They do not have a clear shape. These moles could be cancerous and should be examined.

 

“C” is for “Colour”

C
Photo supplied by Michigan Foot Care

A harmless mole is usually a single shade of tan or brown. Their colour is even and consistent throughout.

Melanoma lesions are usually identified by the presence of many colours and shades. Uneven distribution of colour can be the sign of a cancerous spot.

 

“D” is for “Diameter”

D
Photo supplied by WebMD

Benign moles are typically no bigger than the size of a pencil eraser — or 6mm in diameter.

If you have a skin spot larger than this, it might signify a melanoma lesion. A doctor should examine this.

 

 

“E” is for “Evolving”

E
Photo supplied by Doctor Pulse

If you’ve noticed that a mole or spot has changed shape, colour, or size, it could be the sign of a melanoma lesion.

Knowing what is normal for you could save your life.

If you think you’ve seen a change in your skin, be sure to bring it to a dermatologist’s attention immediately.

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