What is your name?
Hello, I am Zoe.
Describe yourself in 3 to 5 words.
A Melanoma Survivor!
How did you discover your melanoma condition and how long ago?
My melanoma was diagnosed in August 2019, however, I was concerned about the mole on my leg in 2010. It popped up quickly so I went to the GP within two or three weeks. He did a punch biopsy and when I returned for the result, I saw a different GP in the practice who told me it was "fine, nothing to worry about" and wrote on the pathology report “no worries”. I kept the report but forgot about it over the years.
Since that time, I've been conscientious to have skin checks and in the following eight years had another five full body checks. On each occasion, I pointed out the 'scar ' left at the biopsy site and four of those doctors weren’t concerned. However, this year, I decided to see a skin specialist doctor and he picked up on it immediately. He was not convinced it was a scar at all and suggested he obtain the 2010 report, which he did. He rang me within the hour of leaving his surgery to say the mole was pre-melanoma in 2010 and should have been taken out then as it was severely dysplastic.
Nine years later it was a no-brainer to anticipate that a further biopsy would confirm it was definitely melanoma, and of course, it was. I had a wide excision to remove the whole mole and large margins on my shin. It was a wide and deep excision to ensure complete removal and the wound is still healing, some 3.5 months later. I change my dressing every day and see the Dr twice a week to check the wound healing process. My melanoma was Clarke level III and categorised stage 1.
I was extremely lucky that it had been very slow-growing and not progressed further over those years. I was very anxious about that aspect and requested further testing. Thankfully a PET and CT scan and subsequent lymph node biopsy has settled my anxiety and confirmed the doctor's diagnosis that this cancer was 'in situ', meaning it was located only on my skin and has not spread.
What is your attitude towards sun protection today?
Daily sunscreen on exposed skin, hats in the sun and seek out shade.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self about sun protection?
My poor fair skin; embrace your fairness!
Thank you Zoe for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.