I finally went to the dermatologist to have a skin tag removed from my leg, something I’d been putting off for several years. While I was there, I went ahead and had a full body mole check as well… a standard procedure which looks for early signs of skin cancer.
In doing so, the doctor spotted a small, unusual looking mole right in the center of my back. Although she assured me it was probably nothing to worry about, she decided to go ahead and remove it for a closer look, just to make sure.
A week later at work, I received the phone call… and I’ll never forget it. “Bill,” she said, “this is Dr. Smith. That mole I took off your back ended up being malignant. You have malignant melanoma.” Even though I knew what the word malignant meant, I asked never the less… does that mean I have cancer? She said yes. To this day, I still don’t remember any more of that conversation.
Instantly, I envisioned my entire world imploding right before my eyes… I could hardly breathe. In that moment of panic, all I could do was think about how I wouldn’t be able to see my kids grow up. I had never felt so confused, alone, and scared in all my life. I was absolutely convinced I was just given a death sentence.
That was 18 years ago. I ended up being one of the lucky ones; I fortunately caught it early. Truth is… I could have just as easily waited another year to get that skin tag removed, which could have very possibly cost me my life.
Surviving cancer is wonderful, and believe me, I thank God every day to be so blessed. But the fact is, many cancer survivors die a thousand deaths worrying and anguishing.
You see, there’s this black cloud that forever lingers. It’s the one that constantly reminds you, through every little ache and pain, imagined or otherwise, that there’s always that chance your cancer could possibly return. Yes, time dissipates that cloud somewhat, but those first few years are absolutely brutal.
For the next five minutes I’m going to arm you with all the information you’ll need to help keep malignant melanoma out of your life. And believe me, after 18 years of educating myself on the subject, I know what I’m talking about.
Relying on dumb luck to determine a life or death situation, when you actually have the ability to stack the cards in your favor, is a fool’s game. It’s like playing Russian roulette with four bullets in the chamber.
When most people think of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, the most common and easiest to treat, is what usually comes to mind. Because basal cell carcinoma very seldom spreads to other parts of the body, it fools many people into thinking that skin cancer is no big deal.
Guess what! Malignant melanoma is in that same family of skin cancers… and if given half a chance… it will kill you. In fact, melanoma is one of the most deadly, most ruthless, most difficult to treat of all cancers, once it has spread.
Here’s the good news. There is no reason you can’t keep melanoma out of your life. With a little knowledge, you can learn to recognize this cancer in its early stage, giving you the opportunity to deal with it before it has that chance to spread.
Melanoma is one of the few cancers which often can be detected in time to cure… that is, if you’re looking for it. In its early curable stage, melanoma most commonly presents itself in a mole on your skin.
The following information will help you determine the difference between a normal, harmless mole, from one that may be cancerous. In fact, it’s as easy as ABCDE.
Here are the well-known ABCDE warning signs… become familiar with them.
A) Asymmetrical: This benign, or normal mole, on the left is not asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle, the two sides will match, meaning it is symmetrical. If you draw a line through the mole on the right, the two halves will not match, meaning it is asymmetrical, a warning sign for malignant melanoma.
B) Borders: A benign mole, like the one on the left, has smooth, even borders, unlike melanomas. The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.
C) Color: Most benign moles are all one color— often a single shade of brown. Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, white or blue.
D) Diameter: Benign moles usually have a smaller diameter than malignant ones. Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil tip (¼ inch or 6mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.
E) Evolving: Common, benign moles look the same over time. Be on the alert when a mole starts to evolve or change in any way. Any change in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting, points to danger.
If you detect any one of the above ABCDE warning signs, see a dermatologist now without delay. Knowledge coupled with action will keep melanoma in check.
Melanoma is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by the sun as well as tanning beds. You didn’t want to hear that, did ya?
That doesn’t mean you have to avoid the sun at all cost… you just have to use sunscreen all the while you’re in it… both summer and winter.
I’m living testimony to the effectiveness of sunscreen. I’ve been using it religiously now for 18 plus years, with wonderful results… no more traces of skin cancer.
I jog outside… I mow grass in the heat of the day, and I go to the beach on family vacations…. but never, ever without wearing #15 or better sunscreen. In fact, I keep it in my car at all times, so there’s no excuse. The stuff works wonders… and I keep a light tan in the summer as well.
Regardless of your skin tone, gender, or age, here’s what I suggest. Today, go ahead and make your first appointment with a dermatologist for a base line mole check. It’s simple and painless.
By doing this, you’ll know where you stand at this moment with all the moles on your body. Now, once a month, take 10 minutes to look over your body for any of the ABCDE changes in your moles.
If you discover any, don’t be afraid… just simply call your dermatologist and nip it in the bud. Remember, no gambling here. It’s all about catching it early.
Now go make that phone call… please.
Please share this posting with five people you love? It will benefit us both. I’ll take any and all questions.
For all subscribers: Please go to the website to view video below.
Bill Like me on Facebook.