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Sun Exposure - Melanoma

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On ‎7‎/‎02‎/‎2012 at 12:12 PM, Jon said:

Even having your GP check your skin is no guarantee a problem will be detected. I can recall a couple of GPs who told me "no, that should not be a problem'. As I noticed the spot getting itchier and larger each time, I had to ask for a biopsy to be done before a skin cancer was detected and the spot subsequently removed.

 

Ultimately, you are the one responsible for your own destiny.

What type was it?

On ‎7‎/‎02‎/‎2012 at 12:37 PM, JeffS said:

 

Yep if in doubt have it checked. Mine had chaged colour slightly and gotten a little larger but not itchy.

 

My GP said he didn't think it was an issue but he at least referred me to a dermatologist. Even the dermatologist said he thought it was nothing to worry about but he would rather take it out and have a biopsy done. He rang me and said he was very surprised that the mole turned out to be a melanoma, but as previously stated caught early.

What stage was it? 1, 0?

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4 minutes ago, Cranky said:

What type was it?

What stage was it? 1, 0?

is this a bump or what? almost 7 years ago...

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9 hours ago, pieman said:

is this a bump or what? almost 7 years ago...

Just doing some research. Had a biopsy done yesterday. Got a call this morning. Getting it chopped out tomorrow. Level one Melanoma. Scary shit. I think level 1 is ok but i don't like the M word.

Give me 50 ironmen in 50 days any day.

Edited by Cranky
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Stage 1 or Clark Level 1?

Either way it is a bit scary, but I assume it should be able to be removed completely with excision. I've had two out now. First was exactly this time last year, straight after QTS R1. 

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12 minutes ago, Cranky said:

Just doing some research. Had a biopsy done yesterday. Got a call this morning. Getting it chopped out tomorrow. Stage one Melanoma. Scary shit. I think stage 1 is ok but i don't like the M word.

Give me 50 ironmen in 50 days any day.

well yeah it is scary but stage 1 is almost as good as you can get in terms of it being small and not spread.. 

who is taking it out? I have seen two people who had very different scar results for similar sized lesions. One went to a dermatologist who also does plastic surgery and the other to one of these mole clinics.. unfortunately with melanoma they usually want to take a fair bit out so scar is usually going to be decent sized...

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54 minutes ago, Cranky said:

Just doing some research. Had a biopsy done yesterday. Got a call this morning. Getting it chopped out tomorrow. Stage one Melanoma. Scary shit. I think stage 1 is ok but i don't like the M word.

Give me 50 ironmen in 50 days any day.

Sorry, I should have also said feel free to PM me if you want any info from my experience. I know I'm the type of person who wants to know as much as possible when I'm faced with these things, so I'm happy to share what I know if it helps. Hope it all works out okay.

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November 2012 I was driving to the skin specialist GP to get stitches out from my left temple where he had taken out a small,dodgy, something when I got a phone call from a plastic surgeon's office saying they could fit me in for an appointment that afternoon. Hmmm, that doesn't sound good.

Then when I arrived at the GP (I'd had 20+ bcc's removed over the past 10 years by him) the nurse, who was the wife of a good friend and old school mate said "I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis". OK, really doesn't sound good.

Finally when I saw the GP he confirmed (to his surprise as well) that it was a melanoma, and not a "good" one. Nodular (so it was very small, a couple of mm across, but grows into the skin), Clark's level IV, 2.4mm deep, ulcerated (slightly bleeding).

That arvo I was at the Plastic Surgeon's and after seeing him was calling my wife. I thought I was OK but actually struggled to get the words out. Anyway I was already booked in for a few days later, to have an approx 2cm circle of skin removed from my temple and a graft taken from my neck. Surgery went well, I was apprehensive about the scar, but the job was first rate, you can't really notice it unless I point it out. I just need to pluck out neck hairs occasionally! 🤣 Luckily there was no node involvements.

Anyway, the next thing I did was Google "melanoma survival rate" which gets you to a site with a handy little calculator to check your survival rate! ☹️ You put in your info, age, melanoma info, etc and bang, a nice little graph. For me then in 2012 that was a survival rate of ~65% after 5 years, and ~50% after 10 years. It was a bit confronting to say the least. And that's "survival" rates, not whether or not it has metastasized somewhere else. So since then, it's been regular PET/CT scans which have all been clear so far.

It's been nearly 6 years since that diagnosis/surgery and the same calculator app now says the overall survival rates are 85% after 5 years and 75% after 10 years. The actual survival rate from the melanoma is 93% after 5 years and 91% after 10 years. The difference is from all the other things I can die of! :)

It took a while but after initially letting "it" dominate a lot of my thought processes I basically just ignore "it" and get on with things. There's not a damn thing I can do about it anyway. There's still always the anticipation of the the results of the next PET scan when that time arrives but all good for now. I'm also hopeful that these days the actual survival rates are better with all the new treatments available. The rates mentioned above are based on many years of historical data.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend a skin "specialist" for checks, whether that's a GP, mole clinic, or whatever. If they, or you have unease about some skin blemish then insist on a biopsy. Better safe then sorry.

Cheers

gw

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4 hours ago, bRace said:

Stage 1 or Clark Level 1?

Either way it is a bit scary, but I assume it should be able to be removed completely with excision. I've had two out now. First was exactly this time last year, straight after QTS R1. 

 Sorry fixed now

4 hours ago, pieman said:

well yeah it is scary but stage 1 is almost as good as you can get in terms of it being small and not spread.. 

who is taking it out? I have seen two people who had very different scar results for similar sized lesions. One went to a dermatologist who also does plastic surgery and the other to one of these mole clinics.. unfortunately with melanoma they usually want to take a fair bit out so scar is usually going to be decent sized...

This place...

  https://skinconfidenceclinic.com.au

Skin Cancer and Cosmetic Clinic 

2 hours ago, gregorywannabe said:

November 2012 I was driving to the skin specialist GP to get stitches out from my left temple where he had taken out a small,dodgy, something when I got a phone call from a plastic surgeon's office saying they could fit me in for an appointment that afternoon. Hmmm, that doesn't sound good.

Then when I arrived at the GP (I'd had 20+ bcc's removed over the past 10 years by him) the nurse, who was the wife of a good friend and old school mate said "I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis". OK, really doesn't sound good.

Finally when I saw the GP he confirmed (to his surprise as well) that it was a melanoma, and not a "good" one. Nodular (so it was very small, a couple of mm across, but grows into the skin), Clark's level IV, 2.4mm deep, ulcerated (slightly bleeding).

That arvo I was at the Plastic Surgeon's and after seeing him was calling my wife. I thought I was OK but actually struggled to get the words out. Anyway I was already booked in for a few days later, to have an approx 2cm circle of skin removed from my temple and a graft taken from my neck. Surgery went well, I was apprehensive about the scar, but the job was first rate, you can't really notice it unless I point it out. I just need to pluck out neck hairs occasionally! 🤣 Luckily there was no node involvements.

Anyway, the next thing I did was Google "melanoma survival rate" which gets you to a site with a handy little calculator to check your survival rate! ☹️ You put in your info, age, melanoma info, etc and bang, a nice little graph. For me then in 2012 that was a survival rate of ~65% after 5 years, and ~50% after 10 years. It was a bit confronting to say the least. And that's "survival" rates, not whether or not it has metastasized somewhere else. So since then, it's been regular PET/CT scans which have all been clear so far.

It's been nearly 6 years since that diagnosis/surgery and the same calculator app now says the overall survival rates are 85% after 5 years and 75% after 10 years. The actual survival rate from the melanoma is 93% after 5 years and 91% after 10 years. The difference is from all the other things I can die of! :)

It took a while but after initially letting "it" dominate a lot of my thought processes I basically just ignore "it" and get on with things. There's not a damn thing I can do about it anyway. There's still always the anticipation of the the results of the next PET scan when that time arrives but all good for now. I'm also hopeful that these days the actual survival rates are better with all the new treatments available. The rates mentioned above are based on many years of historical data.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend a skin "specialist" for checks, whether that's a GP, mole clinic, or whatever. If they, or you have unease about some skin blemish then insist on a biopsy. Better safe then sorry.

Cheers

gw

Wow! That's big. You've got a great attitude. Thank you for sharing!

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3 hours ago, bRace said:

Sorry, I should have also said feel free to PM me if you want any info from my experience. I know I'm the type of person who wants to know as much as possible when I'm faced with these things, so I'm happy to share what I know if it helps. Hope it all works out okay.

Thanks. Booked in for 1 pm tomorrow. No questions at this point. We will see...

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3 hours ago, Cranky said:

Thanks. Booked in for 1 pm tomorrow. No questions at this point. We will see...

As we say where I'm from, Merde!

(Which means good luck, honest!)

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Hope all is OK Cranky.

I too have had a very bad malignant melanoma. I had my lymph nodes removed, a big hole re-cut in my back and about 60 stitchers from back to groin. Not a good time for the family as my wife was 5 months pregnant when I found out. As the professor who was treating me said  to me after 10 years of treating, that I was one of those 1 in 10 that survived. He said back then that he wasn't confident at all - and, at the time, he was THE #1 melanoma specialist in Australasia.

That was 28 years ago. I still suffer from a lot of skin cancers but not melanoma so far. I won't go into specifics but I do still have issues from the loss of lymph nodes. Nothing than a dose of concrete can't fix.

Just like GW, happy to chat at anytime.

Mick 

Edited by Flanman

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18 hours ago, Flanman said:

Hope all is OK Cranky.

I too have had a very bad malignant melanoma. I had my lymph nodes removed, a big hole re-cut in my back and about 60 stitchers from back to groin. Not a good time for the family as my wife was 5 months pregnant when I found out. As the professor who was treating me said  to me after 10 years of treating, that I was one of those 1 in 10 that survived. He said back then that he wasn't confident at all - and, at the time, he was THE #1 melanoma specialist in Australasia.

That was 28 years ago. I still suffer from a lot of skin cancers but not melanoma so far. I won't go into specifics but I do still have issues from the loss of lymph nodes. Nothing than a dose of concrete can't fix.

Just like GW, happy to chat at anytime.

Mick 

Wow. Glad to hear you are well. 

Thanks for sharing

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So on Thursday I had it cut out. 

Thursday night on a plane to see my mum in cairns.

Today, 2 days later, time to change the dressing. %$#@ I am such a sook! I'll do an ironman but cry like a baby when i have to take off a bandaid. Lucky I had my mummy to do it for me. 

Yesterday (Friday) doc calls and said they've got it all but within the margin there's some unusual cells so he wants to take more to make the margin bigger. Are you kidding me?! So he's going to talk to me in 2 weeks when he takes the stitches out. He says it's not urgent and we can wait for this one to heal and then do it but my first thought was to do it now and then there's only 1 lot of healing .... but Noosa is in 5 weeks and I was hoping to PB, seeing I've raced really well the last 2 races.... so I could get it done after that.

I can't get it wet for 2 days, can't swim for 4 weeks. I don't have a bike in Cairns (will be home next Thursday) and I'm refusing to run until I can go 24 hours without panadol.

So you know I'm all impatient and don't like to 'wait and see', will I be able to race 5 and a half weeks after getting this done? Will it be healed will enough to put pressure on it in the swim?

Planning on running as soon as I can and will get back on the bike next Friday. Swimming will be lots of kicking and one armed freestyle to keep my fitness up as much as I can until I am allowed to swim. 

 This morning I did any core and strength that I could without my home gym or the use of my left arm.

Photos:

#1 - on the day

#2 - my chunk of skin

#3 - today before I chafed the dressing

#4 & #5 - dressing off

20180927_140751.jpg

 

20180927_141207.jpg

20180929_150459.jpg

20180929_151717.jpg

20180929_153627.jpg

Edited by Cranky

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I’m a total wooz.  No way I could wait just so I could try for a PB.  I love PBS as much as the next person, but racing is subject to too many variables to lead into a race  with that thought only. (Long swim, rain, wind etc)   Noosa isn’t going anywhere.  

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Get it done now. If you wait you'll wreck the rest of your season. You have to be realising now that you can do pretty good when you get your act together, so wait for next year for that Noosa PB. Go up there & have a good time instead. It really is a good race to spectate if you have to pick one. It's party central if you can stay up late enough ;)

Fix the arm, have a break, then fire in the latter half of the season.

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Cranky, don't be stupid.

Forget Noosa, it will still be here next year. Do what Ex says, take a break, get it right, come back fresher and keener than ever. All things come to those who wait...

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42 minutes ago, trinube said:

Cranky, don't be stupid.

Forget Noosa, it will still be here next year. Do what Ex says, take a break, get it right, come back fresher and keener than ever. All things come to those who wait...

This, and start a rumour about retirement, your competition will think they can drop their training back a notch, in a year you make the greatest comeback since Lazarus and win by even bigger margins

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And while I'm commenting on this, don't forget the other part of your body that gets affected by the sun - your eyes.  Had my annual eye check on Thursday night (to get my almost free pair of sunnies that health cover pays for).  Got the news I have started to develop cataracts in both eyes.  Apparently my early career in agriculture working in the sun has contributed heaps to this, been told around 5 years before I'm in to have them removed and been told to have polarised sunnies on as much as possible when out and about.

Your eyesight may be fine, but remember to get them checked for this and the other things like macular degeneration - all covered under medicare

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Cranky, I'll be there and only doing the swim for a team, so we can spectate together ❤️

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On 29 September 2018 at 6:16 PM, trinube said:

Cranky, don't be stupid.

Forget Noosa, it will still be here next year. Do what Ex says, take a break, get it right, come back fresher and keener than ever. All things come to those who wait...

Cranky,  I was in the same boat as you back in 2003, 6 weeks out from Forster.

I had my first skin cancer diagnosis in Jan 03, Op to remove it on 3 Feb 03 with a follow up op in early March 03. The specialist told me to forget Forster ironman unless my skin was healed and stitches were out, fortunately I am a fast healer and it still took five weeks to get the skin to an acceptable standard. I did the race with tape and false skin on my arms and right calf. Even though the skin was healed, I did get some localised infection from a combination of sweat and lake water. This is easy to treat but for me became an ongoing problem when I deployed to Timor 5 weeks after the race. 

In hindsight, I wouldn't do the race if I had my time again. I'd have a break, get better and come back at a later date.

The biggest problems you will have, is worrying about getting a knock in the swim and keeping the sun off the tender skin during the bike and run. Last thing is infection. Fortunately nowadays there are products like Opsite tape which can seal the wound area, even if the skin is healed. But your skin will be susceptible to infection during the race and afterwards. Have a good think about this before you commit to racing at Noosa. 

Trinube and Ex are right. Noosa will be there next year. You've got a lot more going on besides Noosa. You could jepodise that. You know how to contact me if you want to discuss this.

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13 hours ago, Greyman said:

Cranky,  I was in the same boat as you back in 2003, 6 weeks out from Forster.

I had my first skin cancer diagnosis in Jan 03, Op to remove it on 3 Feb 03 with a follow up op in early March 03. The specialist told me to forget Forster ironman unless my skin was healed and stitches were out, fortunately I am a fast healer and it still took five weeks to get the skin to an acceptable standard. I did the race with tape and false skin on my arms and right calf. Even though the skin was healed, I did get some localised infection from a combination of sweat and lake water. This is easy to treat but for me became an ongoing problem when I deployed to Timor 5 weeks after the race. 

In hindsight, I wouldn't do the race if I had my time again. I'd have a break, get better and come back at a later date.

The biggest problems you will have, is worrying about getting a knock in the swim and keeping the sun off the tender skin during the bike and run. Last thing is infection. Fortunately nowadays there are products like Opsite tape which can seal the wound area, even if the skin is healed. But your skin will be susceptible to infection during the race and afterwards. Have a good think about this before you commit to racing at Noosa. 

Trinube and Ex are right. Noosa will be there next year. You've got a lot more going on besides Noosa. You could jepodise that. You know how to contact me if you want to discuss this.

Thanks heaps.  Good to hear someone who's been in the same boat. Something to think about ... but ...

I'll be in the ocean, salt water, though - this is good for healing, yes. 

So sweat is not good for it? Oops! I've been training and sweating, but washing it every 48hrs with Chlorhexidine Irrigation Solution. So far so good.  Will keep an eye on it. 

Stitches will be out on 11 October, 3 and a half weeks before Noosa.

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10 minutes ago, Cranky said:

Thanks heaps.  Good to hear someone who's been in the same boat. Something to think about ... but ...

I'll be in the ocean, salt water, though - this is good for healing, yes. 

So sweat is not good for it? Oops! I've been training and sweating, but washing it every 48hrs with Chlorhexidine Irrigation Solution. So far so good.  Will keep an eye on it. 

Stitches will be out on 11 October, 3 and a half weeks before Noosa.

So let me get this straight, you've asked if you will be okay or should keep training and I think every response has been a no but you have still been training and looking like you are going to still do Noosa...

What did the Drs say? Maybe another opinion to ignore..? 😁

 

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Just now, pieman said:

So let me get this straight, you've asked if you will be okay or should keep training and I think every response has been a no but you have still been training and looking like you are going to still do Noosa...

What did the Drs say? Maybe another opinion to ignore..? 😁

 

Dr just said no swimming for 4 weeks and no doing 100 push ups. He said run and bike were ok.

In regards to getting the second chop, he was not in a hurry to do it. I was actually the one that came up with the 'let's just do it now' idea..... then I remembered Noosa. He said we would talk about it more when I see him to get the stitches out next Thursday. 

Not ignoring advice. I just wanted to hear from others who have had this sort of thing and wondering how long it takes to heal. Each day I can feel improvement, so I'm feeling positive. 

Stitches will have been out for 24 days when Noosa rolls around. 

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Cranky,

I got a nasty one cut out in June this year. A little closer to the elbow than yours so a little easier to split. I got the stitches out after three weeks but split the skin a few days later. They recommended I didn't get them re-stitched as it had started healing underneath and they would do more harm that good. So..... another few weeks not doing anything, ESPECIALLY bending and putting my arm in bacteria infected water.

I have added the before and after photos (yeah I know, the second shot looks like a 200 year old tree trunk).

FM

Stitches 1.jpg

Stitches 2.jpg

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1 hour ago, Flanman said:

Cranky,

I got a nasty one cut out in June this year. A little closer to the elbow than yours so a little easier to split. I got the stitches out after three weeks but split the skin a few days later. They recommended I didn't get them re-stitched as it had started healing underneath and they would do more harm that good. So..... another few weeks not doing anything, ESPECIALLY bending and putting my arm in bacteria infected water.

I have added the before and after photos (yeah I know, the second shot looks like a 200 year old tree trunk).

FM

Stitches 1.jpg

Stitches 2.jpg

Youchies!

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Hey Flanman, might be a good idea to whack a few butterfly strips on the bit of scar that's still red. That will promote healing by holding the scar closed. 

Another tip I got from the wife, is to rub Vaseline on the scar after the scar has closed over. This helps the skin heal further and stay more playable, preventing it splitting again.

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1 week till Noosa. My arm is healing really really well.

Running was back to "normal" within a week. I only missed 4 weeks of swimming, my first "real" session back (gradual build up) was 3 weeks and 3 says after the chop. (That doesn't seem to make sense, but I missed more swimming before the chop because I couldn't swim after the biopsy was done either.)

Anyway, all is well and here's what it looked like a few days ago...

20181024_190321.jpg

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Timely - hope all goes well - anyone got any good ideas as for peaked (?) hats to wear in the surf.  Can use a swim cap when swimming but when out on a board it gets tricky

Edited by symo
typo

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Symo,

I use one very similar to this -> https://www.hyperride.com.au/product/100266/billabong-2018-surf-cap-black?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIi5y_hsiq3gIVB5SPCh1NcgUEEAQYASABEgLOlfD_BwE

Mine is white and grey so doesn't stand out as much. I have had it for about 15 years. The trick is learning how to duck dive with it plus  not having your head pulled of in 2M+ swell.

FM 

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Thanks Flanman - just got one of these ordered - Ocean & Earth Men's Indo Surf Hat.  Figure the bucket rim will cover enough but if not will look at that.  Had a quick look and most of the BB cap styles have a big area at the back that is not covered, but that one looks good.

If I am out in 2M+ I will be using it to wave for help :0

 

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Just want to brag about my awesome scar. 14 weeks old.

Have been burning off a BCC on the other arm, with cream. Going to have it checked out this arvo. He offered to chop it out but that would mean no swimming again!!

20190103_132059.jpg

20190103_132528.jpg

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