Survivor Stories

Rebecca Berger, Stage I

Diagnosed  05/15/2013

I had a funny looking mole on my left jaw my whole life. I did follow ups with dermatologists from the time I was a little kid. No one wanted to biopsy it, but finally around 20 years old they did. Path came back normal, but the lesion grew back bigger and uglier, meeting All ABCDE criteria. After fighting with 3 dermatologists in 2 states who said it was nothing, I had it re-biopsied shortly after graduating college. I then found out at 22 years old, while in my first job, that it was a melanoma, 1.4 mm, arising from a congenital Nevus. A sentinel node biopsy was attempted with the wide excision but no node could be found. I continue with close follow ups with my oncologic surgeon with ultrasounds. Also, every 3 months I have a skin check with my dermatologist who had me do full body photography. I will have these frequent exams the rest of my life and basically have biopsies at every visit. In the 4 years since my original diagnosis, I have had 1 additional melanoma in situ and 3 severely dysplastic nevi, all of which required wide excisions. Most moles I have biopsied are atypical, although many do not require an additional follow up. I have never tanned and always cover up and avoid the sun. Although I live In Florida now, I have spent most of my life in the northeast.