Message form a friend

(Note: If this is your first time visiting my page, thank you for your concern and support.  You may want to read the pages to the left first, then read from below.  My latest blog entries will feed to the top automatically.   The most recent blog entries are also listed as links on the bottom left.)

One of my mom’s friends, who has become a friend of my own, has a message she would like to share with everyone.  Well actually she shared the message with me and I asked her if I could share it with everyone else on my blog.

Here is her message:

Every year, I try to warn and inform people about the dangers of melanoma. Please feel free to share with your friends.

Melanoma is the most severe skin cancer and the most deadly. It is becoming more prevalent. At one office in Charlotte, they were seeing 1 case per week, this past June they were averaging 3 cases per week (some caught early, sadly some were advanced). In New Zealand (land of fun and sun), 2 out of 3 people have skin cancer.

In 2003, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 melanoma. I had a wide-excision done (about the size of a baseball). After this health scare I got informed. Melanoma can kill you in months if not treated in a timely manner. If you have a darker skin tone, don’t be fooled, you are still able to develop melanoma and because you may think you are ‘safe’ you might not get it checked out as early as you should.

One time at the dermatologist’s office, I was told a teenage girl in another room was being told they had melanoma between their toes. Wear sunscreen on your feet if you wear sandals or flip-flops.

Another time at the Blumenthal Cancer center, I saw a teenage boy with his parents in the waiting room, waiting to see my doctor. He looked scared to death, so I knew he was the one having the appointment, I wanted to let him know he was being seen by the best, but I didn’t. However an hour later across town we happened to be at the same restaurant for lunch so I did not let my apprehension stop me from approaching them. After I introduced myself, I told him my experience and let him know it was going to be OK and we talked for a little while. He was so relieved and thankful that I talked to him. If you have teenage boys, be sure if they play sports and are “skins” that they wear sunscreen. They are shirtless a good portion of their Summer… be safe.

A friend of mine’s husband was diagnosed in April with Melanoma. It had spread. He passed away that Thanksgiving. He didn’t live to see his daughter turn 1. The only exposure he had to the sun was as a teenager. Coincidentally, while he was in treatment, his wife had a suspicious place checked out on her arm – – it too was melanoma, but it was caught early and their daughter still has 1 parent.

A friend of mine’s Mom died from occular melanoma. Wear sunglasses that have UV protection.

Another friend of mine’s Mother died from melanoma and she never saw her grandchildren.

Dermatologists often refer to tanning beds as “Melanoma in a can”. Think about it the next time you lay in a tanning bed. There’s not much difference between a tanning bed and a coffin.

MoleSafe:
Yeah! There is a new early diagnostic tool that is available to you. You can go to http://www.molesafe.com for a location near you. During the procedure you have very hi-tech digital pictures taken of each suspicious place on your body, it is then infused with light at a very close range to illuminate any changes under the skin, not apparent to the naked eye, which allows melanoma to be caught early.

These pictures are then evaluated by a doctor and any suspicious places are recommended for removal. Thanks to this procedure, the next melanoma I had was Stage 0, and only a quarter diameter place needed to be removed (much better than a baseball). If you know someone who has a lot of moles or freckles or suspicious spots this is for them. The pictures are kept and compared year to year for changes as well.

Sunscreen Tips:
– Check to make sure your sunscreen has not expired! It does go bad and then you are not doing yourself any favors.
– Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure. This is because sunscreen works by forming a chemical bond with your skin which is complete around 30 minutes. If you go outside prior to that, it is like going outside without sunscreen on for those first 30 minutes.
– Wear a daily moisturizer with SPF included on your face, arms and hands, EVERY DAY. Your arms get lots of exposure to the sun when driving, and you don’t even think about it.
– Reapply often, especially to your face or your children if you wipe the water out of your eyes a lot when swimming.

SPF Clothing:
– If you are exposed to the sun a lot whether for work or fun. Look into SPF clothing. You can find some on the web (Solumbra, Coolibar are some of the brands I’ve bought). They make great golf shirts, swimwear, etc.
– Just because you have clothes on, does not mean the UVA and UVB rays are being blocked – you are just not getting tan, but that doesn’t mean your skin is not being damaged.
– If you have children, make sure they have SPF built into their swimwear.

Be vigilant about any places on your bodies that change (darker, larger, looks odd, etc.). Follow up on it!! If you have never had a full-body check by a dermatologist, you should. I do stress a dermatologist over a primary care physician only because they do see more cases of melanoma than the average general practitioner.

Have fun in the sun, but please be safe. Your life and possibly your children’s depends on it.

P.S. I received an email after posting this blog entry from someone wanting to share a link to a website featruing the latest melonoma updates if you are interested in learning more!  http://www.melanomaupdates.com/

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5 Responses to “Message form a friend”

  1. Becky Says:

    Thanks for posting this..it scares me how much I went tanning when I was younger. I have a couple of moles that I have been questioning. This has made up my mind and I’m scheduling an appt w/ a derm first thing Monday morning!

  2. Carol Lambert Says:

    Hi Becky,

    This is my note that Danielle posted. Please let us know what the dermatologist says! This is why I send out a mass email every year, because there are changes every year to your skin and it does make people think twice. Since I sent this out two people contacted me, one who has a terminal friend and one whose brother died of melanoma.

  3. Norine Korvink Says:

    Hi gal,
    I haven’t read your blog for a few days…working on projects… I’m glad you posted your mom’s friend’s letter… I too, have had a loss in my family to melanoma…my brother. He was 42 years old. It’s such an icidious disease. I also want to tell you that our nicece, Cris Santa Croce (formerly a Korvink) is running in a Triathalone Race…we have donated, and Cris is planning to write your name on her leg…or some part of her body! You may be interested in her website/blog: http://www.seecrisrace.com/index.htm
    Hugs, Norine and Pieter

  4. Becky Says:

    I’ll keep everyone updated. It’s hard to get an appointment where I live. Not a lot of dermatologists I guess. I do have a friend who works for one, so I’m going to try there! Otherwise I’ll have to wait until December! Grrrr
    Thanks again! It really does make you think twice

  5. Kori Says:

    Thanks for posting the info on melanoma! I was diagnosed with Stage I myself just 3 months ago and it was a HUGE wake up call. 3 surgeries and countless biopsies later I’m free and clear but, it will be something I will have to monitor the rest of my life. I’ve always loved the sun and spent lots and lots of time in the tanning beds and I’m definitely paying the price now. I feel like a broken record sometimes trying to raise awareness but, hopefully this will help get the word out. Thanks again!


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