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PSA – May Is Melanoma Awareness Month

Etiquettehell.com LLC has, for years, been very supportive of various health awareness issues and charities.    Very often the issues we support have a personal connection to me or someone within my family or circle of friends. I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in September 2009 resulting in surgery for wide local excision of the melanoma and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Happily my melanoma was caught early enough that it had not spread. Since then PSAs on the Ehell forum has saved lives as people have discovered their own nascent melanomas. Early detection saves lives.

Be aware of your skin and if there is any doubt about an odd mole or coloration, have a doctor check it.   Much heartache can be avoided if skin cancer is caught early.

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  • Jessica May 14, 2013, 9:58 am

    May is also Arthritis Awareness Month! http://www.arthritis.org/facesofarthritis/

  • Laura May 14, 2013, 10:46 am

    Just the other day I noticed an odd looking spot on my mom’s arm. She had seen it, but didn’t think anything of it. I told she needed to get into see a dermatologist, so she is going on June 1st. Hopefully it’s nothing, but you just never know.

  • The Elf May 14, 2013, 11:10 am

    One of the best things you can do to prevent skin cancer is wear sunblock/sunscreen, even if you don’t burn easily. But, I have extremely sensitive skin, and anything with a fragrance or dye just sets it right off. Most of the “sensitive skin” formulas wash off too easily, and I do far too many outdoor activities to both re-applying all the time. On top of all that, I have very fair skin, so I burn easily. Sunblock isn’t just necessary to avoid skin cancer, it’s necessary to avoid looking and feeling like a steamed lobster. I finally – finally! – found a brand that both works and is doesn’t rub off. If you don’t mind me “advertising” here, I’ll name it: Blue Lizard Sensitive Skin (Fragrance Free). It was developed in Australia, where they take skin cancer very seriously. My husband, who does not have my skin issues, prefers Bullfrog because it sprays on (avoiding the sticky hands issue) and also has a bug repellent. That is nice, because after I’m done slathering on my sunscreen I then have to douse myself in bug spray. I haven’t found a good sensitive skin bug spray yet, so I just spray it on my clothes.

    • Dee May 8, 2017, 12:49 pm

      The medical field is now aware of the serious side effects of never getting unprotected sun exposure, in the form of significant and widespread Vitamin D deficiency. You can supplement with tablets but it’s not utilized the same as the kind of Vitamin D full sun exposure creates. Vulnerable people (those who live in countries farther north of the equator) are now being encouraged to spend a few minutes each day, during late spring, summer and early fall, getting unprotected sun exposure. Sun block is still recommended for the majority of time but, as in all things, moderation is the key.

      I can’t tolerate sunscreen so I take my chances. Fortunately, I also can’t tolerate direct, hot sun exposure, so my time outdoors is limited.

  • Andi May 14, 2013, 11:45 am

    My mother passed at 27 from melanoma, her father in his 50’s. I’ve had over 3 dozen Basel and squamous “spots” removed in the last 18 years – starting when I was 22. I just finished dealing with 5. All but 2 have been on my face, mainly my nose. I am the crazy sunscreen and hat lady. Please please please protect your skin and get checked out early!!

  • Jaxsue May 14, 2013, 12:13 pm

    It amazes me that, as much as we know of the dangers of sunbathing/tanning beds, so many people still pursue the “perfect tan.” I was talking to a younger woman yesterday; she said that she was going to lie in the sun to get a tan for a wedding. She already has a beautiful skin tone and is not pale at all. I mentioned that the damage can be life-long. She shrugged. She may not care at age 25, but she will care at age 40!
    I saw what melanoma can do to a person. My X’s late uncle had it, and when he died he had no nose and scars covering his fact. That is an extreme case, but it does happen.

    • admin May 14, 2013, 12:17 pm

      I cannot get over the people who know me personally, saw what I went through and the emotional drain it was yet still have a profoundly cavalier attitude about their own exposure to sun and checking their body for abnormal moles.

  • Ann May 14, 2013, 12:48 pm

    My daughter was at the doctor’s yesterday (she’s 14) for one thing, and as an “oh, by the way”, showed her a funny mole growing on her foot, of all places. I hadn’t known about it at all. The doctor referred her to a dermatologist to get it checked out. I hadn’t known that skin cancers and melanoma were a concern for children and teenagers that young. How timely is “National Melanoma Month”!

    (doctor thinks it’s nothing, but better to get it checked out, as DD is fair skinned and always on the go outside).

  • The Elf May 14, 2013, 2:11 pm

    I never really understood tanning anyway. What’s so bad about being pale? Embrace your natural skin tone, ladies, be it alabaster, olive, bronze, tan, caramel, or mohagany!

    • Queen of Putrescence May 8, 2017, 8:15 am

      Exactly! Why can’t one just embrace their natural skin color! Nothing wrong with being pale, just as there is nothing wrong with having olive, dark brown or black skin!

  • kingsrings May 14, 2013, 3:08 pm

    I don’t leave my house in sunny weather without wearing sunscreen. I’ll never understand the obsession with tanning when it’s so bad for your skin. I swear, it seems like some people have a tanning disorder where they can never get tan enough! I would rather have my fair-skinned “arctic tan” than get skin cancer or have my skin prematurely age! It is so not worth it.

  • ladycrim May 14, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Glad yours was caught early and eradicated, Miss Jeanne!

    I always slather up with sunblock if I’m going to be outside, both as a cancer preventative and because I’m so fair-skinned I could probably burn by moonlight. I also just convinced my boyfriend to have a large mole removed from his back. It turned out to be nothing, but better safe than sorry.

  • Lynne May 14, 2013, 5:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing. That was my exact story, but in October of 1999.

  • Jenna May 14, 2013, 8:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. My father had melanoma on his leg but fortunately it was caught at stage 1 and had not spread. He actually went to a dermatologist and got a skin check, they told him everything was normal but he went for a second opinion on a hunch and the second dermatologist found it almost instantly. He grew up in California and spent most of his time outdoors with no sunscreen and had many, many blistering burns. He has also had basal cell carcinoma a number of times on his face and arms.

    I think being aware of your personal history of sun exposure and the history of skin cancers in your family is very important. I have been asked to come in for yearly skin checks since I was sixteen because of my family history. I usually do not leave the house without sunscreen on as I live in Colorado and we have a lot of sunny days. I too cannot understand the disregard that some of my family has shown towards their own sun protection.

  • penguin_tummy May 23, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Glad to hear that you are all clear now Miss Jeanne!

    My partner’s grandfather died from melanoma a few years ago. He used to work as a builder, often without a shirt on and certainly no sunscreen. The cancer spread into his lungs and brain and he endured a terrible few months before his death. Melanomas spread really easily. Don’t risk your life for a tan, get a spray one or go au naturale!

  • MELISSA COON June 25, 2013, 11:12 am

    I’ve just discovered this website via STFU Couples and I’ve been reading through these posts the last couple of days. As a stage III melanoma survivor, this post especially caught my eye, and I only read the last page of comments but I’m so glad that so many people “get” the dangers of tanning and burning in the sun! And I doubt at this point anyone will read this comment besides maybe the admin, but always always always have moles etc checked if you feel weird about them, so many people have been told “it’s probably nothing” and it turns out to be skin cancer! PS, love the website and the meaning behind it!

  • MELISSA COON June 25, 2013, 11:13 am

    There was only 1 page of comments, I just noticed that, so I did read all of them 🙂

  • Andi May 8, 2017, 1:55 pm

    To add to my post from last year – im starting round 4 on Erivedge – chemo pill for specific skin cancers. To be blunt – it sucks.

    Get checked out early!!

  • Outdoor Girl May 10, 2017, 12:43 pm

    Another melanoma survivor, here. Caught early, thanks to me knowing my own body. Saw a dermo who said my mole was ‘nothing’ and refused to do a biopsy. He was so dismissive that I called and cancelled the appointment I’d made to have the mole shaved and went back to my family doctor for another referral. Even though that dermo also thought it was nothing, he agreed to the biopsy when he saw how concerned I was. I just knew, somehow. Imagine his surprise when it came back positive. A quick surgery and it was gone. Luckily no other treatment needed. And so far, no repeats, though I’ve had a few other moles removed.

    I don’t wear sunscreen every day, when I’m just running to the car or for a quick 10 minute walk at lunch but anytime I’m planning to spend longer than that outside? Sunscreen and a hat. And I’m always on the lookout for weird looking moles or other skin markings.

  • Liliane May 14, 2018, 11:02 am

    Yes, it’s extremely important to keep an eye on these things. My sister found out she had melanoma thanks to her tattoo artist – there was a mole on her back he thought just didn’t look right, and thankfully she took him seriously when he said she ought to get it checked out. They were able to excise it all, along with a portion of the tattoo being worked on at the time, and she chose not to get that portion redone so she’d have a reminder to keep an eye on things.

    I need to find a dermatologist again – I’m at very low risk all things considered, being unable to tolerate much sun exposure, but as fair-skinned as I am (and reacting to the sun as if I were a natural redhead, despite being brunette) I don’t take chances, especially after my sister’s scare.

  • ladyv21454 May 14, 2018, 11:18 am

    Thank you for this, Jeanne! I was fortunate enough to have a much less serious form of skin cancer (basal cell) but even that could have been serious if not caught early. Please keep encouraging people to be aware of ANY skin markings that don’t seem normal. In my case, the only outward manifestation was a tiny red dot on my nose. I would have probably ignored it, but when it didn’t go away, a co-worker of mine who was a nurse urged me to get it checked. Better to have something checked and have it be harmless than to NOT check it and have it be malignant.

  • Jackie May 14, 2018, 9:25 pm

    Long time lurker here. Thank you for this post. My grandmother starts treatment this week for her stage 4 melanoma. I’ve been lax about sunscreen, but am now turning into the person who preaches it all the time. We have seen the devastating effects it has on her and I don’t want anyone to go through it unnecessarily.

    I also second the recommendation to keep an eye on things. I went to the dermatologist last week for an unrelated issue and he insisted on checking for moles before I left. He found a suspicious one on a spot of my back that I can’t see. If he hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have even noticed it was there.

  • Sarah May 15, 2018, 10:57 am

    Glad you’re healthy! Wishing you all the best!

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