Guest post by Ali Mazza
This week marks six months since my dad lost his courageous battle with Melanoma.
This week ALSO marks THREE weeks since I was diagnosed with Melanoma.
I have been seeing a dermatologist every year for the last 8 years. I saw TWO dermatologists after my dad passed away just to ‘make sure’ everything was fine. Both gave me the all clear.
At my 6 month follow up with my original derm she mentioned that the mole on my left butt cheek had maybe grown half of a millimeter. She said ‘we will just watch it.’ I said let’s just take it off! I don’t need it!
She called me a week later and informed me that it was Melanoma in SITU and that I would need a small surgery.
I moved all of my records to Dana Farber Cancer Institute the next day. They re-evaluated my pathology and determined that it was actually stage 1A. That small change ultimately changed the size of my re-excision. I’m so thankful I went to Dana Farber and got the best possible care from some of the most respected specialist in the industry.
Yesterday I had my surgery and now I will heal, with just a scar (a really BIG scar!) and bad memory.
A few takeaways…
1. Wear your SUNSCREEN…not just at the beach, ALL of the time.
2. GO to the dermatologist EVERY year!
3. Don’t wait until there is an issue to start being careful with your skin. I didn’t have a ‘family history’ until 6 months ago…
4. You are NOT too YOUNG to get Melanoma. 1 in 40 people will be diagnosed and it is the MOST diagnosed cancer among people 25-29 years old in the US.
5. There is no ‘type’ of skin that is immune to Melanoma.
6. Trust YOUR gut! If you feel like something has changed or isn’t quite right, GET IT CHECKED.
7. Get naked for your dermatologist. People get naked for bikini waxes, spray tans, etc. but clam up when it comes to your doctor! My mole was small and unassuming, it also happened to be on my butt cheek which would have never been caught had I not gotten naked for my doctor!
8. Educate yourself on how to practice sun saftey!