Melanoma Skin Cancer
Little did I know when growing up and getting sun burns as sort of a badge of honor, would I be diagnosed with a melanoma. Fortunately, I see my dermatologist on a regular basis and when I had a patch of skin that seemed suspicious, he was able to diagnosis and treat it by removing the cancer in a simple office procedure. I feel fortunate that there has been no reoccurrence. However, I have not educated myself very well about Melanoma until I participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for life in Walnut. I heard stories about how how Melanoma if untreated can enter the body and there is no cure for when that happens. All of sudden my easy encounter with cancer became very serious. Now I am paying attention to making sure I am using sunblock, stay out of the direct sun, and wear clothes that protect me.
Emotionally, I have not really thought of myself as a cancer survivor, especially when I see how devastating can be to others. But the more I thought about it I realized I benefited by early detection and if more of us did self exams, and paid attention to our bodies and the warnings they give us, perhaps more people would find cancer earlier and have a head start in treating whatever cancer they find. Ignoring the signs, staying away from Doctors, can be decisions that lead to much more serious implications.
I wear my survivor t-shirt with thanksgiving that I was so fortunate to have a good relationship with my doctor, I was educated enough about skin cancer to know that spot on my skin was not normal, and get the support I needed after treatment. If you have any suspicions, I hope you too will seek out advice from your doctor, and find the support you need for what ever the news is.