I was not so foolish as to believe the first two melanomas Mehdi removed would be the last. But I am surprised at how quickly the next ones showed up. In less than three months I’ve grown more than half a dozen lesions that were either innocuous at the first inspection, or weren’t there at all. Plus a suspected carcinoma. And that is just on my arms and shoulders. We did not complete the full body check as we ran out of time.

I was already becoming paranoid, regularly noticing what I suspected may be new, or changing, lesions that I should keep an eye on, but now some of my suspicions seem to be confirmed, I’m even more so. Particularly about those itchy spots on my back that I cannot see and which won’t go away.

I’m not worried, yet, because I believe I’m in the hands of someone who knows what’s what. If I had not been attending this particular doctor, however, who knows how things may have gone? He is the one who instigated the checks, not I.

The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99 percent. That’s encouraging. The survival rate falls to 65 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes and 25 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.

So my advice to family and friends and anyone else reading my blog is to get checked.

At least learn how to check yourself. Especially if you live in Australia or New Zealand, which have the highest exposure to UV and as a result the highest skin cancer rates.

This has been a public service announcement.

For more information

Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

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