A Cancerous Mole - Not The Only Way Malignant Melanoma Can Develop
Read My Mum's Story To Find Out About The Rare Way Her Melanoma Developed.
Over many years of skin cancer awareness, many campaigns have misled us to believe that changes in moles are the only cause of melanoma. However, extensive worldwide research has clearly proven that melanoma can possibly develop from other factors other than a cancerous mole.
During a telephone call with my mother while I was at work one day, she mentioned she had just knocked a small burn scar she had on her inside forearm causing it to bleed. It had healed initially, then suddenly pigmented, developed freckles surrounding the site and was becoming ulcerated and painful.
We were both concerned and thought it strange that her small oven burn was not behaving as a regular burn site would normally. I told her that I was worried it sounded like something more sinister and persuaded her to arrange a doctor's appointment.
When she did, she was devastated to be told it was a malignant melanoma; the most life threatening skin cancer and she'd unknowingly left it untreated for 8 months.
|Mum's scar healed initially, then became pigmented to resembled a 'freckle'. It also developed 'satellite' dots of pigment around the scar which gradually became bigger and blended with the main lesion. After a time it gradually became raised and then developed a scab-type crust which she knocked causing it to bleed. It was only when it refused to heal that we realised that something was wrong.
We are lucky here in the UK as I believe when it really matters, the NHS serves us well particularly as my mother had her first appointment with the oncologist within a couple of weeks. A plan of action was agreed and a further appointment was made for it to be surgically removed under a local anaesthetic and biopsied.
Her journey hereon was filled with traumatic experiences; an infection in the wound on removal of the melanoma caused severe cellulitis in her arm. She suffered intense pain for days and refused to be admitted to hospital for fear of contracting MRSA. She was left incredibly weak and shaken and had a locum doctor not changed her medication in time, there was a very real possibility that she could have lost her arm.
When the biopsy results came back we were told that the melanoma was invasive and had a Breslows depth of 2.2mm which meant that she had a possible prognosis of 60-75% survival at 5 years.
Some weeks later it was discovered that she had a second melanoma, this time it presented as a mole behind her knee, she had no idea how long it had been there. It was removed and confirmed to be a melanoma in situ (earliest stage).
It's nearly five years since this happened. She has regularly seen her consultant to check her lymph nodes and been examined for further signs of a cancerous mole developing. So far she has the all-clear and is busy living her life trying not to dwell on the past.
The reason I quote my mum's story is to emphasise that there is not just one cause of melanoma or reason for a melanoma to develop, there are many. They don't just develop in a cancerous mole either. Mum's first one was developed on an oven burn scar which is incredibly rare.
Some professionals say it isn't possible for a melanoma to develop within a thermal burn scar, but there are a small number of cases reported (23 in fact) in medical publications such as The Journal of Dermatology 2003 Aug;30(8):617-24.
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Read About Other People's Experiences Here...
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