Melanoma

A support group for anyone affected by melanoma to come together, share experiences, and ask questions.

Mole excision biopsy

Ribbon68
Posted by

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

Ribbon68
latchbrook
Posted by

Hi 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:

  1. Stay out of the sun during the strongest time of the day (11am to 3pm) between April and October inclusive in the UK and in all months of the year in any other part of the world
  2. When going outside wear long sleeved tops and trousers/skirts made from natural fibres like cotton
  3. Wear a broad brimmed hat (brim should be at least 3 inches) and sun glasses
  4. Sit in the shade and never sunbathe 
  5. Any part of your body that is not covered, ie face, neck, back of hands should have a sun protection cream of SPF 50 that is effective against both UVA and UVB rays
  6. Re-apply the sunscreen as directed on the bottle
  7. Never use sunbeds
  8. Don't use sunscreen instead of covering up

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.

x

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

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Ribbon68
Posted by

Dear Latchbrook

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

Ribbon68