After her hairdresser told her of a small, irregularly-shaped mole hidden by her hair, my aunt visited her dermatologist for a checkup. The news was grim: cancerous melanoma. After more visits to her dermatologist, and then many more skin experts, my aunt was diagnosed with STAGE 4 skin cancer – the final stage immediately before the terminal phase, Stage 5. There was little all those specialists could do. She had no previous symptoms. No pain. No weakness. My aunt felt great, looked even better and traveled the country weekly. But, she was rapidly dying.
After multiple surgeries over three years, various expensive medications and treatments, the cancer spread deeper into her skin and into the dermis. The specialists tried to stay ahead of the aggressive cancer by removing the cancerous areas, including a four inch by four inch plate of her scull, but by then the cancer had spread throughout her body. It attacked her lymph glands, her bone, her brain. She suffered a stroke that rendered her left side unusable. On a Wednesday afternoon, after packing up her office, my aunt took herself to the hospital complaining of a headache. She slipped into a coma. Three days later, my aunt died from a silent killer – that started from a small, almost unnoticed mole. She died from skin cancer.
My aunt was one of the estimated 10,710 people in 2006 who passed away as a result of skin cancer.
Once she was diagnosed, there was nothing I could do to help my aunt, but I can help my clients, others, and myself by bringing this subject to the forefront. As a professional esthetician, I make it my business to look and make suggestions to my clients. As well as suggesting regular, yearly body scans with a qualified dermatologist. I can help in the prevention of skin cancer, one person at a time.
Don’t wait until your hairdresser finds a mole. Visit a qualified dermatologist today. They will check you for irregular skin conditions, and instruct you how to do the same at home. It could save your life. Make an appointment to see a dermatologist and have your entire body checked regularly. Learn the ABCD’s of melanoma and spread the word:
(A-Asymmetry, B-Border, C-Color, D-Diameter).
Awareness, education and early detection are our best defense. And most importantly, ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN! (daily & year round)
For more information and to make a donation, please check out the skin cancer foundation at: www.skincancer.org (feel free to share this with someone you love)