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I know, I know, I should have said something sooner...

Sunday, 1 June 2014
You may or may not be aware that last month was Melanoma Awareness Month. I think I prefer that acronym to Skin Cancer Awareness Month but then again I do enjoy a good pun so I will remain on the fence about that. Anyhow it has particular poignance for me; back in 2005 I had a very lucky escape thanks to a life long bestie who insisted I have a mole checked (we were on her hen party in Spain at the time). She has a medical background so I took her seriously and sure enough after the biopsy came back I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Two surgeries, a couple of slightly disfiguring scars, five years of quarter annual check ups later and I was given the all clear. Oh happy day!!

Anyone (with any sense) who has gone through this learns to have an extremely healthy attitude toward the sun. I cover up on beaches and sit under an umbrella wearing SPF50+, I wear long sleeves and a sun hat in the garden and I start to stock pile sun screen every year from April onwards. In short I am very careful. So in March this year I was disappointed to find another suspect mole and dutifully started the lengthy NHS procedure to get an appointment to see a dermatologist. The good news is the mole I was worried about is fine. The bad news is the dermatologist found what she believes is a Basal Cell Carcinoma on my neck.

Now, if you're going to receive a diagnosis of Skin Cancer this is the type you want. It's the kind of stand alone anti-social variety that doesn't want to mix and mingle with the rest of your cells, as opposed to malignant melanoma who just wants to make it to the lymph node party and fast. In spite of an excellent prognosis the whole thing left me feeling pretty low and the result has been that my desire to write something that anyone would want to read has been, limited. 

I went under the knife last Wednesday. Talk about mountains out of molehills, I was in and out of day surgery within an hour. It takes longer to fill a tooth! My stitches will come out this Wednesday and then I'll be able to inspect my newest scar. I've already started a back catalogue of quips about street fighting gone bad, my fiery fists of fury and rogue archers with appalling aim (cancer is such a conversation killer, although this one inebriated guy did try to get me to have a look at the mole on his...) The results come back in four weeks and the surgeon reassured me it's unlikely I will have to have another surgery on my neck regardless of the outcome, so that's something. In the meantime I have consulted with my hair stylist, I'm going to grow my short crop out a little but otherwise I will remain the same old me and it's back to business as usual. Put that in your pipe cancer. 

Hope all is great with you and yours.


9 comments

  1. I think it's great that you're writing about this - another person's experience can build so much more awareness out there and especially with skin cancer, where it can be missed quite easily. I really hope that the results are ok!

    Saskia / girlinbrogues.com

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    1. Thanks Saskia, I was uncertain about posting on this subject but feel it's important to spread the message x

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  2. I've just had my fifth mole removed. I try to wear sunscreen and hats all the time too. I go in annually for a full body mole check. Ugh.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, surgery is stressful but necessary. Between the two of us we could have a mega 'Scar-Off'. Stay healthy x

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  3. Im glad your writing about this too. Things like this can be hard to think about let alone share with the world. I'm glad your all better & cleared. Yeah, 5 years seems like a long time but it's better than never. I hope you have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Leslie, the constant checks are a bit of a drag but far better than the alternative x

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  4. Love you Emma. Brave girl. xx

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  5. As someone who is seriously allergic to the sun I now use factor 30 everyday. When I was younger I didn't have the same problem with the sun and at the time no one worried about skin cancer we now know that the sun is a powerful player in skin cancer. I am glad that you found yours early and got treatment. I hope that the operation on your neck heals quickly and you are soon feeling better. Cancer seriously sucks as I found out from first hand experience certainly not something to be messed with Lucy x

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