Wilma is a skin cancer specialist nurse, here to answer your questions about different...
i have just been diagnosed with. Melanoma on my leg and am waiting to have a wide excision biopsy done. It was a stressful experience waiting for the results. I was told that the mole had been completely removed. I will have to attend the hospital for the next five years for body checks. Every little ache and pain tends to make me paranoid. Luckily we are now approaching winter but will need to organise for the summer. Plenty of good sun screen.
It is good to be able to talk and share experience. I was given literature to read when I feel ready
Hi Ribbon68 and a very warm welcome to the online community
I'm sorry to hear that you've just been diagnosed with melanoma. Almost exactly 3 years ago I was in the position you are now so understand how you're feeling. It's natural to worry that every ache and pain you feel is down to the melanoma whereas it's more likely to just be an ache or pain. Before you were diagnosed you probably wouldn't have noticed these aches and pains and it'll take you a while to get back to that stage.
I had a wide local excision (WLE), and also the optional sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), so if you want to ask me any questions I'll be happy to answer them.
I can fully understand how you feel about going out in the sun next summer and hopefully you have been given plenty of information from your consultant or SCNS on how to best protect yourself.
The first summer after I was diagnosed I found myself crossing the street to walk in the shade but I've stopped being quite so paranoid now! Unfortunately, if you've had any type of skin cancer you're more at risk of getting another if you don't protect your skin from the sun. This doesn't mean that you have to stop doing things you used to enjoy doing in the sun, unless that was sunbathing, but you need to change some things to protect yourself.
When I was diagnosed I was told the following was necessary to protect myself in the sun and thought that you might find it helpful:
The first summer after I was diagnosed was particularly hard as I used to enjoy sitting in the sun. However, I quickly got used to the new regime and have a selection of hats to choose from when I go out. I also decided that I now needed a whole new wardrobe so went on a shopping spree. So, every cloud has a silver lining!
I leave a hat permanently in the car so if I forget to take one with me I know I'll have one. Leaving a tube of sunscreen in the glove compartment is a good idea too.
Last year I went to Australia to visit my sister and I still went on the beach and swam in the sea. However, instead of sitting in the sun, I stayed in the shade and I only went in the sea for a short time. Ironically it's easier going on holiday somewhere like that because nearly everyone covers up as they're so aware of the damage the sun can do so I didn't feel a freak in long trousers and a hat!
My friends know that I need to sit in the shade so if we're going to be sitting outside we try to look for a table which means that I can sit in the shade while they can sit in the sun if they want to. If I'm with people who don't know why I need to be in the shade I don't necessarily tell them but will just say something along the lines of "I prefer to sit in the shade" or "it's too hot for me in the sun".
As for sunscreen I think it's just trial and error until you find one you like. I personally use SunSense. I tried it when I was in Australia and liked it. You can buy it here over the internet but I haven't seen it in the shops. They do a wide range but I like their Daily Face SPF50+ for my face and their Ultra SPF50+ For the Family for anywhere else that's exposed.
I hope that helps a little but if you want to ask anything else please do.
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Thank you for your advice will stock up on hats, trousers, shirts and Sun screens. Will take one day at a time. It's good to know there are other people out there to talk to. Thanks
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