By KMC Dermatology
It was just a tiny brown freckle on my inner right thigh. Then, practically overnight, it became black and slightly raised. Had it been on my back or another less visible part of my body, I never would have known it was there. I had it removed last September, the doctor optimistically saying, “It looks like nothing.” But it was something: the biopsy came back positive for melanoma, stage III.
When I heard that word “Cancer,” first I cried, then I became paralyzed with fear, then I sprang into action. I talked to other melanoma survivors in my area, and became a sponge in order to absorb as much information from credible sources as possible about this form of skin cancer.
I was in surgery four days after my diagnosis. Two surgeries were performed: one to remove the affected area of my thigh, and another to remove 22 lymph nodes nearby because a biopsy of the nodes showed evidence that the melanoma had spread (metastasized) there. A PET CT scan also separately detected possible thyroid cancer.
I had to have my entire thyroid removed. (Real life testimonial by Jerry Penacoli, host of the nightly entertainment show, Extra.)
EARLY DETECTION IS KEY
As a dermatology provider, I wish first hand stories like this were less common.
With 3.5 million cases in over two million people diagnosed annually, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. It’s important to check your skin for suspicious moles once a month and report anything unusual to your health care professional.
Remember the ABCDE rule: Asymmetry (one half of the mole doesn’t match the other), Border irregularity, Color that is not uniform, Diameter greater than 6 mm — (about the size of a pencil eraser), and Evolving size, shape or color.
(one side is not like the other)
B: Border irregularity
(not uniformly round)
C: Colors (more than one)
D: Diameter (larger than a pencil eraser)
E: Evolving (changing over time)
Schedule your skin check with KMC Dermatology today. Come see us and get screened! Call us at 844-KMC-DERM or visit our website at KMCPA.com.
Shawnee: 6333 Long Ave. Ste. 360
Leawood: 11301 Nall Ave. Ste. 205
Overland Park: 12850 Metcalf Ave. Ste. 210
Legends: 10940 Parallel Pkwy. Ste. M with locations in Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan