Survivor Stories

Tiffany Mann, Stage I

My insurance was going to be coming to an end so I decided to go in for a routine skin check up.  The doctor told me that nothing look too out of the ordinary, but I told him to biopsy the one on my back anyway.  One week later I received a phone call from him telling me that I had “melanoma in situ” and it was at .3mm deep, and I would have a 93% chance of survival.  Those words shook me to my core, I was so young, only 25 years old, I shouldn’t have to be dealing with this yet.  I was scheduled for general surgery the next week and I had 4 inches removed from my back. Even though they got all of the melanoma I knew that my journey was only beginning.  I went in for a check up 6 months later, doctor said everything was fine (different doctor, had no insurance yet).  I finally got back on my regular insurance, regular doctor, went in for my appointment and had him remove 5 more moles.  Again, a week later I had an abnormal one on my thigh and melanoma on my right side where my ribs are.  This time my melanoma was a ZERO, it had not penetrated the dermis yet.  It still wasn’t the best news I could get, but happy that I was getting ahead of the game!  So I went back to general surgeon and had them remove a little more on both moles, and I’m still healing right this minute.  I will be going back to see my dermatologist in about a month or two to have him remove a few more that I don’t like.  I know it sounds crazy to think that I just want him to remove all my moles but if this is what it takes to save my own life then that’s what I’m going to do!!  I don’t care if I’m going to have scares all over my body, vanity is what got me here in the first place with tanning booths!!  The best advise I can give is to JUST HAVE THE MOLE REMOVED!!  Doctors will never be certain what you have until they have it looked at under a microscope!  BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!!!  If you don’t like a mole and the doctor says its fine, have them remove it anyway!!  Its better to be safe then sorry!!  I was lucky, very lucky that I caught it early before it had a chance to spread.  You are the best judge of your moles and what your body normally looks like, any changes to your moles are not a good sign.  Have them biopsied even if they have “been their for years” or “you were born with them”.  Just remember EVERY MOLE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME CANCER!!

Thank you!