WHILE playing with her kids in the park, Melissa Albin felt someone watching her intently.
Soon the stranger went over to the family in an exchange the 37-year-old now says saved her life.
The mother of two recalled the first thing the unidentified woman said to her after she had been looking over at her for quite some time.
Melissa said, “Eventually she came up to me and said, ‘I’m really sorry if this is weird, but I’ve been looking at the mole on your arm and I’m wondering if you’ve ever checked it.”
The woman explained that she was in fact a dermatologist and thought she needed to have a birthmark on her arm checked.
The comment prompted her to make an appointment, and after a biopsy, medics determined she had melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer.
Melissa said that as a busy mom, she always had a long list of things to do, and one of them was a skin exam.
Her doctor had previously recommended she get one as she is fair-skinned, but she said it was something she brushed off.
Now Melissa says she will never forget the kindness of that one stranger.
“I thank God for her every day.
“Having a complete stranger have such concerns and taking the time to speak up made me realize how serious it was… if she hadn’t told me I would have put it off again and again,” she said today.
Melissa had no history of skin cancer in her family but was aware that she had freckles and birthmarks.
But she hadn’t paid any attention to the Mark on her shoulder simply because she couldn’t see it.
The mole had been dark brown and about the size of a penny.
The most common sign of melanoma is a new mole or a mole that has changed shape or size.
You are at increased risk of developing this disease if you have many moles or freckles, have pale skin that burns easily, have red or blonde hair, or have a close family member who has had melanoma.
While Melissa didn’t have the family history, she did have the other three main indicators.
What is melanoma and what are the symptoms?
The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
Most experts recommend using the simple “ABCDE” rule to look for symptoms of melanoma skin cancer, which can appear anywhere on the body.
- Asymmetric – Melanomas usually have two very distinct halves and an irregular shape
- Edge – Melanomas usually have a nicked or ragged edge
- Colors – Melanomas are usually a mixture of two or more colors
- Diameter – most melanomas are usually more than 6mm in diameter
- Enlargement or bump – a mole that changes in size over time is more likely to be a melanoma
dr Philip Bernard, an Ohio doctor who examined Melissa last September, said the stranger was a savior.
He explained that if Melissa had delayed the skin check, she might have had a “poor result.”
The results of the biopsy showed that the melanoma on her shoulder was stage one, meaning it hadn’t spread yet.
The tissue was removed from her arm in November.
To make sure the cancer doesn’t come back, Melissa has to have skin checks every three months for the next few years.
dr Bernard said Melissa noticed what experts call the “ugly duckling sign.”
This is usually a birthmark that looks different than others on your body.
He said fair-skinned people like Melissa should have regular skin exams, as should those who had blistering sunburns in childhood.
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https://www.thesun.ie/health/8756127/stranger-watching-intently-park-kids-thank-god/ I noticed a stranger watching me closely with my children in the park