Aggressive melanoma

To have a spot removed

Last blog we wrote about the different kinds of melanoma that we find. Some are the usual brown ugly duckling kinds you will have seen on TV, magazines, etc. BUT…a whole host of melanomas are spot that you wouldn’t really look twice at. Until maybe it was too late.

As the Christmas holidays approach, it might be tempting to think that you’ll wait to get a skin check until after Christmas. Maybe you’ll wait until you’re back from holidays. Or maybe until after the kids go back to school in February (when all parents breathe a collective sigh of relief). After all, it’s just a small spot – how dangerous can it be, right?

And that’s where you’d be wrong. We know of someone only in their 40s who found a spot recently and got a skin check. And that’s great.

However as soon as the Dr saw the spot, it was obvious it needed removing. The Dr assessed it as an aggressive melanoma, biopsied it and sent it off for pathology immediately.

The test results came back. Yes, it’s an aggressive melanoma. And it needs to be surgically, removed ASAP.

The patient however, wasn’t so sure. They were going away on holidays soon and a wound would be irritating.

“Couldn’t it wait until late January? I’m going on holidays.”

Wait, what? Um, no. It has to be done now!!

In short, the Dr ensured the melanoma was gone before the patient left the country for their holiday.

Now you might be wondering what all the fuss was really about.

Melanoma on 120x magnification

Melanoma on 120x magnification

What you might not know about Melanoma

The patient had an aggressive melanoma that was already showing signs of being invasive (ie: growing down into the other layers of the skin). Once that starts to happen, melanomas grow at around .5mm every 3 months.

0.5mm sounds tiny.

But once a melanoma gets beyond a depth of .9mm (yes, not even a whole millimetre), it usually means that the patient has lymph node involvement. And that is a whole different kettle of fish in terms of removal (far more invasive) and treatment (think radiation, chemotherapy, systemic pharmacology’s).

This patient’s melanoma was almost at .9mm – just think what might have happened had they waited another 6-8 weeks until after returning from holidays.

Instead, they have a small wound to look after for the next couple of weeks and a memory of how close they came to starting 2017 very differently.

What about you?

So if you’ve got a spot or a mole that needs to be checked, please don’t leave it. Get it assessed as soon as possible. But make sure it’s by a skin cancer expert. The same goes for if you’ve been sunburned at some point in your life and haven’t had your skin checked by a skin cancer Dr yet (or for a while).

You can call us on 9999 0336 (Northern Beaches clinic) or 9223 1608 (Sydney City clinic) or you can pop your details in the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly with our next available appointment.

Northern Beaches

Building Q1, Level 2, Suite 9, 4 Daydream St, Warriewood

Appointment availability:
 Monday – Friday
Appointment times: 8.30am-5.00pm
Phone: 02 9999 0336
Fax: 02 9999 0337

Sydney City

L16, 109 Pitt St, Sydney

Appointment availability: Mondays & Thursday Only
Appointment times: 8.30 am - 5:30 pm
Phone: 02 9223 1608