This post is not meant for sympathy, to scare anyone or to get any form of attention. It has been saved in my drafts for over 6 weeks and I wanted to write it and have been encouraged by doctors, nurses and family and friends to spread the word and to help and save lives.
I was simply at my sister’s house getting my nails painted and scrolling on Instagram when I spotted a well known celebrity / influencer called Molly-Mae Hague (from Love Island)’s Instagram story. I am not going to lie – I panicked. She was describing how she watched a documentary about a young girl who died young due to skin cancer. She went on to say that she had a scare after Love Island when she found a mole on her leg that wasn’t previously there. It was her mother and other family members who noticed it and made her aware.
I had something very similar on my left thigh. I have been asked soooooo many times. I do not know how long it has been there. I do not really check my body for moles. I am not a ‘moley’ person and never have been. I have always been quite lucky. I never get spots on my body and have always had quite thick and clear skin. This ‘mole’ appeared after I had Lorenzo and I noticed it more when it started to rub and become itchy, specially after I worked out. My kids did noticed it a few times and so did Mark, my husband, but I just brushed it off. I always thought and was told that cancerous moles are black. However this is not true, but I learnt to just push it back and forget about it.
Back to Molly Mae – – – – She said that she had her ‘mole’ checked 3 times by 3 different doctors and it was always said to be ok and not cancerous. However, she advised her followers to go and get your moles checked and to always look after your skin. I tried to push the thought at the back of my mind. I remembered arriving home, trying to forget about it. I was thinking about it while in bed and then went to sleep.
The next morning – Molly Mae’s instagram popped up again on Instagram and this time I really panicked. She put up picture up of her ‘mole’ and it looked just like mine. In fact exactly the same. That is when I started to think all the bad things and I started to google everything that popped into my mind. The absolute wrong thing to do. I am an olive skin girl – however over the past 4/5 years have had sunbeds on and off. I started thinking I deserve all of this – this is my comeuppance. I deserve this. I brought this on myself.
As this all happened on the weekend I waited till Monday morning to talk to my GP – I sent her pictures and also pushed for an appointment. She advised me that she thought it was a dermatofibroma – – – –
As stated online ‘A dermatofibroma is a common overgrowth of the fibrous tissue situated in the dermis (the deeper of the two main layers of the skin). It is benign (harmless) and will not turn into a cancer. Whilst dermatofibromas are harmless, they can be similar in appearance to other concerning skin tumours.’
She referred me to a dermatologist, as she could sense I wanted it checked, and I was seen 5 days later. The dermatologist was so kind and explained he too thought it was a dermatofibroma but in his words ‘If it was me, I would take it out.’ I was surprised and agreed to it, he booked me in 4 days later. Everything was happening very quickly but the mole was taken out and as I had my procedure I was told I had to wait 3/4 weeks for my results. I was not aloud to do any form of exercise for 3 months and had to rest for 2 days.
As weeks went by I heard nothing back until I received a text message late one evening saying I had a dermatology appointment in 3 days. I knew something was up. Why didn’t they just send me my letter if everything was ok? Tuesday morning I went to see the same dermatologist who informed me that I had Stage 1A Melanoma in that mole. Yes, that mole was in fact cancerous. It was a very very early stage and I caught it very early. If I left it 1 year maybe 2 it would have been a lot worse. I was nearly sick, started shaking and just didn’t know how to react or what to do. I started thinking…
- Can it grow back?
- Will I get another form of cancer from this?
- Could I get another mole in a different area of my body?
To answer all of those questions No, No and No. It is extremely rare for it to come back. You cannot get another cancerous mole from having a previous one. You just have to start looking after your skin more. And no you cannot get another form of cancer from melanoma.
I am indeed one of the lucky ones. Did you know that skin cancer kills more British people than Americans and Australians? All because we do not look after our skin. I soon spoke to a Nurse Specialist, Stacey Croney, who was highly recommended to me by the amazing dermatologist. She spoke to me for nearly 40 minutes not only about my case but just about skin cancer in general. She mentioned: ‘The skin is the biggest organ in our body and we do not look after it enough. We all need to wear a SPF protective cream from April – October even if it is grey and raining outside’.
I had a lucky escape I was told when I had the mole removed they did take all the cancer out and there are no cells left in the tissue however, due to government guidelines they always advised to have a second incision – as a precaution. Which is something I am having this week. I wanted to write this blog post for so long to tell you, if you think you have a mole that looks odd, different, is itchy and most importantly – has popped up out of nowhere make sure you get it checked by your GP and push to be seen by a dermatologist. There are lots of ways to spot a mole that might be cancerous. The information below is from the website Skcin which was highly recommended to me by Stacey and is so helpful.
Another great thing that Stacey mentioned to me was the App – MiiSkin it is a great way for you to monitor your moles overtime. I have downloaded it and it allows you to store and keep pictures of your moles so you do not have to look back at multiple holiday photos trying to see if your mole has changed colour or shape – this app does it all for you.
I now have to have my skin checked every 4 months for a year and will wear sun cream with a high SPF for the infinitive future. No more lounging in the sun (which I wasn’t able to do since pre-kids) and definitely no more sunbeds.
Here are a few more facts for you from the Skcin website…. Did you know…?
- Non-melonoma skin cancer is the UK’s most common cancer
- Malignant Melanoma (which is what I was diagnosed with) and the deadliest form of skin cancer is now one of the most common cancers in young adults from 15-34 in the UK.
- Over the last 25 years the rates of melanoma in Britain have risen faster than any other common cancer.
- Over 86% of ALL melanoma and the majority of all other skin cancers are caused by damage from UV (I.e too much sun and sunbeds) – making the disease almost entirely preventable!
If those facts are not scary enough I hope my story encourages you to have your skin checked and your moles. If you have fair, light, olive, black or spotty skin. Skin cancer can affect everyone if you expose it a lot to the sun. Do not think you are safe, if you worrying about a mole just have it looked at. I also wanted to say if I did not look at Molly Mae’s instagram that night I would have never had my mole checked – she has posted on her platform about her results and I wish her so much luck and send her lots of love as I know how daunting this can be. She is using her platform for good and I wanted to do the same, as she literally saved my life!