Jo's Malignant Melanoma Story
‘Being diagnosed with a Malignant Melanoma in my early 40’s was not part of my life plan.’
A difficult experience with Malignant Melanoma is now a positive and rewarding one
In March 2018, I noticed in the mirror a large mole on my upper right arm.
I didn’t think much of it until it started to itch and become scaly. I have a number of moles and am quite freckly but until then hadn’t thought much about my skin. I tan fairly easily and whilst I had been sunburnt as a child (a kid of the 70’s who hasn’t?) and spent a year in Australia, I have never used sunbeds.
I showed my mum the mole and she commented it looked different to my other moles and I should get it checked. My GP said it didn’t look typical of skin cancer and if he was a betting man he would say it was a wart but referred me anyway.
The hospital were also unsure but removed it and booked me in for a follow up. Two weeks later, still no phone call, so I thought I was fine.
When I heard the words ‘The consultant will see you shortly’, I knew it was not good news. I was diagnosed in May 2018 with a malignant melanoma grade 1b. The criteria for grade b had changed that year otherwise I would have been 1a. I had a wider excision with no spread evident and asked to do regular checks for any reoccurrence and to come back every 3 months for a few years.
‘A cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence and with the right treatment it can be managed.’
I was so relieved to have been diagnosed early and to need minimal treatment. Whilst an aggressive cancer, it is all about the depth of the mole which increases the longer you leave it.
My outlook on life has definitely changed. I advise people on retirement savings for a job but I live more in the present than I used to.
That is why research and RareCan is so important to me. Without research, treatments, support networks and success stories there is no hope and that’s what those diagnosed with cancer want. Hope.