Sharing the facts about melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in a free book, Melanoma: Skin Cancer Facts.
May is Melanoma Awareness Month. There are nearly 150,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year.
a tumor of melanin-forming cells, especially a malignant tumor associated with skin cancer.
“melanomas can appear anywhere on the body”
Melanoma is not the most common form of skin cancer, but it is the deadliest. The numbers of new cases are growing each year, and I am hoping to do my part in spreading the word about the dangers and how to prevent them, by putting together a book on everything you need to know about melanoma.
It was spring of 2016 when I noticed a new mole that didn’t quite look like any others I had. I don’t seek out a doctor unless I really need one, but I had a very uneasy feeling about it and the concern was great enough to want me to get it looked at. I didn’t hesitate to make an appointment with my dermatologist for a full skin exam.
If you have never had a full skin exam (or skin cancer screening exam), you put on your cute little paper gown and the doctor or physicians assistant does a very thorough exam….from the top of your head all the way to your toes. My provider told me that she has found, on more than one occasion, abnormal growths hiding in between her patient’s toes. If you aren’t making a mental note to check between your toes frequently, you should be.
She used a dermatoscope, a tool used to evaluate pigmented skin lesions to easier identify melanoma, and looked over every inch of my skin. It turns out the mole I was concerned about was normal. Phew! However, there were three other moles she didn’t like the looks of. She took a biopsy of each.
The results showed that one was pre-cancerous. It would be something that I would have to watch carefully for any future changes. The other two were superficial spreading melanomas. They most likely began as benign moles, that evolved into melanoma over time. Left undetected and untreated, they could spread to the lymph nodes.
Just hearing the word melanoma was terrifying. So naturally, the first thing I did was the one thing you should never, ever do…I started googling about it. Uugh. Big mistake. This was a big reason for putting together the Melanoma : Skin Cancer Facts book – to be informative and truthful, without any fear mongering.
It was June at this point and I was scheduled for surgery to have the tumors removed in August. Yikes! That’s a long time to sit around worrying that this cancer is growing on my body. Luckily, I was able to move up the excisional biopsy (the surgery to remove the entire mole and the surrounding areas), so I didn’t have to wait as long.
After the removal, I was extremely fortunate that the results showed all of the melanoma had been removed. Yay! Now, I have a new routine when I’m in the sun. Don’t think you are exempt from getting skin cancer as I did. I always assumed that since I didn’t have fair skin, and that I tan easily and rarely get a sunburn, that I didn’t need sunscreen. Wrong. And please don’t ask how many times I used a tanning bed, which is a big no-no for your skin!
Included in the book is a body map and explanation of how to use it to give yourself a self-exam, along with a schedule to follow.
This book is meant to inform you of the facts about melanoma. It is free to download. Feel free to share it, because the more people that are informed, the more skin cancer we can prevent.
I have recently created a free resource library with ebooks, planners, and workbook for women, and have moved the Melanoma book there. You can get free access through the link below.