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...to tell you all to GET YOUR MOLES CHECKED?

(28 Posts)
HowlerMonkey Tue 20-Aug-13 19:26:27

Actually, I know I'm not.

I am a fair-skinned redhead with a history of sunburn (grew up in a very hot country with parents who didn't think sunblock was necessary hmm) and have got approximately 200-300 moles (dermatologist's estimate).

I recently spotted a funny-looking mole that had developed an angry red bit at one end. The red bit had grown relatively fast and so I made an appointment to get it checked by a GP. GP referred to the consultant. In between the GP appointment and consultant appointment, I started a new job after 2 years as a SAHM. The consultant appt was only a few weeks after my start date and necessitated a day off work.

I was THIS close (picture me holding my fingers a millimetre apart) to postponing the appointment because I didn't want to take a day off for something so 'minor' so early in my new career. I was worried they'd consider me a slacker.

I went along to the appointment in the end. Mole was removed and this morning I was told that it had been a melanoma in situ. That is the best kind of melanoma to have because it means it hasn't had a chance to spread beyond the skin. It was caught in time. My blood runs cold when I consider that I very very nearly delayed having it removed. I've got two small DC FGS.

PLEASE go and have your dodgy-looking moles checked. Please.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 20-Aug-13 19:28:22

Glad everything is okay Howler. I had one removed from under my thumb nail last year. As it turns out it was fine. I only mentioned it to the Doctor in passing, it was removed the following week!

Ifcatshadthumbs Tue 20-Aug-13 19:35:45

Thank god you kept your appointment. A friend of mine had a melanoma on her back but because of where it was it took a while for her to notice. Because of the size and depth she had to have lymph glands removed to see if it had spread. Thankfully it hadn't but she is left with some serious scarring and it was a terrifying few months of waiting to find out.

Caught early it is so very easily and successfully treated.

whatshallwedo Tue 20-Aug-13 19:39:47

I often think about having mine checked and although I don't have loads the ones I do have I can't see to check myself.

Do pharmacies check moles or did I imagine it?

I did go to a gp when I was pregnant as one mole was a bit flaky but she told me it was a wart shock not a mole so maybe they all are!

MsVestibule Tue 20-Aug-13 19:44:33

I've noticed a new one on my chest and keep meaning to phone the doctor. Trouble is, to get an appointment, you have to phone between 12.00 and 12.10 and I keep forgetting. Must put a reminder in my phone...

LittleEsme Tue 20-Aug-13 19:45:19

YANBU at all. Glad it's been removed OP, but you know you now must check regularly sad.

Yes. And the key part of your post is that they change and grow quickly.

I've a giant one on my norks and went to the docs, he measured it at 9mm and blasely told me to come back if it grew within the month. It didn't.

I did not know that skin cancer grew quickly and had got myself into right high dudgeon over it.

WestieMamma Tue 20-Aug-13 20:24:13

YANBU I lost my sister to skin cancer 8 years ago.

PseudoBadger Tue 20-Aug-13 20:28:22

Howler we spoke on your previous thread. That is the same type as mine was (superficial spreading melanoma in situ) and it is bad and good news at the same time. Are you having a wider excision?

Bingdweller Tue 20-Aug-13 20:36:02

YANBU - so glad you got it checked out. I wasn't so lucky and my melanoma was stage 2 by the time I was referred. I had delayed going to the doc for about 6 months as thought it was hormonal changes due to pregnancy. I am covered with moles and a lot of mine did darken when pregnant.

Thankfully all is well now 18 months later (apart from a large missing chunk of arm!) but it is a small price to pay.

You should have regular 3 monthly full body & lymph node check-ups for 2-3 years and 6 monthly for 2 years. Hope you are ok howler are you getting a wide local excision?

Bingdweller Tue 20-Aug-13 20:40:06

whatshallwedo I have seen pharmacies advertising mole checks. Quite honestly, I don't think I would trust them - it seems a bit of a gimmick. Definitely the GP or dermatologist/plastic surgeon if you are able to IMO.

I just seem to have large freckles appearing. Mainly on my scars.

I have a mole on my back and neck which I cant see.

auntmargaret Tue 20-Aug-13 20:40:56

So glad you went, OP. Hope all goes well in future, give your kids a hug (or twelve!)

HowlerMonkey Tue 20-Aug-13 22:08:35

That's right Pseudobadger, I remember you! I am indeed having a wide local excision. The nurse said they'd be removing about a centimetre from all around the original site but weren't considering it as too urgent because they'd got a big zone of clear skin around the mole anyway. I was told to chase them if I hadn't been given an appointment by the end of next week, so I presume they are professionally confident! I will be going for another check in 3 months and they will then probably keep me on their annual checking list because 'I'm a bit moley' in medical-speak grin

SP, I had one mole removed a long time ago that came back as not a problem. A freckle has now grown back through the scar site. I mentioned it to the dermatologist and she just said 'Yeah, that's fine.' So maybe don't panic over them, but I would advise getting them checked to put your mind at rest properly. Oh and you can ask for photos to be taken of your whole body by the medical photography department, if they have one; they give you the photos on a CD and they then serve as a future reference for doctors (and you)!

MsVestible, PUT A REMINDER ON YOUR PHONE <stern>

yellowballoons Tue 20-Aug-13 22:12:31

Absolutely Howler. Most times a GP will refer a patient on to a specialist as they dont know for sure, and they themselves dont want to make a wrong call.

JerseySpud Tue 20-Aug-13 22:21:06

Mine have been checked recently as has the now hairy one that DD1 has

I have atypical mole syndrome. I've had 2 suspicious ones removed so far in my lifetime (they were both fine) and they now want me to have a photograph done in the medical illustration dept of my back (worst place for moles, loads of big ones there). I haven't booked it in though.

I think they want me to stop going to the GP unless they change drastically. I can compare them with the photo presumably after?

I'm glad you're ok OP.

daisychain01 Tue 20-Aug-13 23:55:28

So glad you are OK, Howler!

This time last year, my DP was given emergency surgery due to metastatic melanoma. 2 months previously he had gone to the dermatologist regarding a mole on his temple that had gone a bit flakey and they did what they call a wide excision which means they take away the mole plus an extra safety margin to ensure clearance. The result of the biopsy was normal.

Can you imagine our horror when, after only a few weeks, poor DP found a huge swelling on his jawline. The melanoma had sent cancer cells down through the lymph nodes and a tumour had just started forming.

NHS was amazing, whipped DP into hospital within a week he had surgery and the surgeon saved his life, literally. Has taken a year to completely recover but he is very well now. A lucky escape.

Melanoma is a demon, so aggressive.

When I saw your post, it made me want to support you and urge everyone to take moles very seriously. Keep an eye on them and for the slightest change, see your GP. You are not wasting their time, even if its a false alarm.

Take care x

missingmumxox Wed 21-Aug-13 00:31:50

no dontstep they don't want you to compare, how could you? they are on your back and it is not a scale photo. they want the pictures for teaching purposes and your notes, you need to ask questions, I was asked after a chest and abdo xray once for permission to use mine for teaching purposes as apparently I have a perfect gynoid pelvis and extremely narrow rib cage...still happy about my perfect pelvis and they gave me copies when I asked, had them for years pinned to my window...on idea what happened to them sad
on the point of moles the OP is correct I used to work in theatres and I used to find it quite amazing the size of the excision, the worst were, if it was a man, who was very dark in completion and hairy, as they would not see it to start with, then being male ignore it, then when they started to worry would google and find out their dark completion less risk of cancer so ignore some more, I saw more than 1 man after a frozen section came back have to be excised some more until the point we had to stop, and they then after surgery they started chemo.
when I say dark I mean Mediterranean decent mainly, but one of the consultants used to say they would be at a disadvantage any way for early detection because of the hair on them they could not see the moles, ( Before I get slated I know it is not particular to Mediterranean males or that all of them are hairy, I am being medical about this) but also because they felt their natural melanin would protect them
so my point is don't think because you are naturally dark skinned you are protected, you are a bit but not if you ignore it.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Wed 21-Aug-13 00:39:53

Please don't just assume its only moles. Get any abnormal skinpatch checked. DH had an angrl looking patch of skin on his face, Gp said it was nothing. Dh went back severl months later. Gp still said think its nothing but will refer you. Dermatologist said it is nothing but wil will punch biopsy you to be sure.

He got a phonecall sooner than excpected to return and it turned out to be a pre-melignant melanoma.

They took photos of it to show students in the future.

missingmumxox Wed 21-Aug-13 02:05:06

talk about Zeitgeist, just found this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23767532

missingmumxox Wed 21-Aug-13 02:06:00
olidusUrsus Wed 21-Aug-13 02:18:56

Stupid questions ahoy!

I have never had moles. I've always been freckly. I am white and quite fair and I have never burned to the point that I have peeled.

What is the difference between small moles and large freckles? I have some tiny freckles on my arms that are not completely flush with my skin, not completely round but with a clear border and I think they are all the same shade of brown.

Sorry if I'm coming across all hypochondriac but I'm laying next to my sleeping husband who happens to have cancer... it's made me hypervigilant

downs rescue remedy

Chottie Wed 21-Aug-13 05:25:53

I am reading this with 15 stitches in my head following a bcc removal last week. I go on Thursday to have the stitches removed and find out the results of the biopsy.

I had a funny, flaky, reddish area on my head just above the hair line about the size of my ring finger nail. I went to the doctor in March and was given cream and told to come back if it didn't go, it didn't. So I went back and was referred to the hospital for surgery.

I am now trying to get my DH to get his moles checked out. Despite the above, he still thinks I am being alarmist and a fuss pot.

Please don't delay.

HowlerMonkey Wed 21-Aug-13 07:47:06

olidus, NOT asking questions would be stupid. Your questions are entirely reasonable!

To answer, I think there isn't much distinction between small moles and big freckles. I've got loads that could easily fall into either camp. IMO the key thing to do if you're worrying is to look up the ABCDE of skin cancer (don't worry about the name) and see if you have any moles that look worrying according to those criteria. If you find any, ask a GP to look them over. Also keep an eye out for any rapid changes - that is important.

I have lots of misshapen, dark nevi but the dermatology nurse said they were clearly normal for me and that abnormal moles tend to 'jump out' when compared to your overall background.

So basically, don't panic. I'm sorry your DH is ill, that must be horrible flowers

They don't want them for teaching purposes missingmum. I did ask them lots of questions at the time hmm

She called it a mole map and the purpose is so that I can do regular comparisons at home after, with the photos after. I don't work in medicine, perhaps my first post didn't explain it properly.

Too many 'after' in my previous post. Trying to type whilst getting my children breakfast, is a recipe for disaster it seems smile

olidusUrsus Wed 21-Aug-13 13:42:33

Thanks Howler, you've made me feel much better thanks well done on keeping your appointment! So glad to hear you are shot of the nasty moleys

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