Tuesday, 27 February 2007

I am a Melanoma Survivor!

But only because it was caught early!

A slightly squeamish subject I know but Melanoma's are nasty, nasty things.

There are 4 types of melanoma

  • Superficial spreading melanoma: grows initially in the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. This type becomes dangerous when it invades downward into the lower layer of the skin (dermis).

  • Nodular melanoma: often very dark brownish black or black in colour but can be pink or red. It forms a raised lump on the surface of the skin as it invades deeper into the skin.

  • Acral lentiginous melanoma: most commonly found on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet or under the nails. This type is more common in people with darker skin.

  • Lentigo maligna melanoma: appears in areas of skin that get a lot of sun exposure, such as the face and upper body. It may grow slowly and superficially over many years, later forming lumps as it grows deeper into the skin.
My Melanoma story
I went to see my doctor 10 days ago being some months after my partner Michelle had noticed that a small raised mole was looking red and discoloured on my left shoulder.
It had been irritated by my rashie and wetsuit when I went surfing and I had scratched the top of it off a couple of times.
Anyway I eventually went to the Doctor when my concern about it became greater than my fear of the consequences.
Interestingly, it was an irregular mark on my other shoulder that also caught my Doctors attention and he booked me in to have them both removed under local anaesthetic,
Not a day I was looking forward to!

The result:
  • The mole on the left shoulder turned out to be a relatively harmless Nodular Basal Cell Carcinoma and
  • Yep the other mark on the right shoulder turned out to be a melanoma! The last of the four types mentioned above as it was not raised in anyway but quite large and irregular in shape.
    Dangerous because it was not that obvious which is gist of my message!
So, on the recommendation of the specialist, yesterday I was back under the scalpel having the initial incision reopened..........!and more of the area excised as a precaution thereby resolving the issue.


So if you have any marks that are:
  • Assymetrical
  • have an irregular border
  • are a dark colour as shown in the image above
  • More than 6mm in size
Please go straight to your Doctor and get it checked out!


  1. 60,000 people will die from melanoma this year. If you have had melanoma or family history of melanoma; do a self skin exam once every few months. If a mole / lesion is growing and changing in an irregular manner, have it looked at. Thank your friend!!

  2. Sorry, 60,000 will get melnoma and 8,000 will die.