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what did your melanoma look like?

Forums Cutaneous Melanoma Community what did your melanoma look like?

  • Post
    mkp050680
    Participant

    i am just curious – i know may is melanoma awareness month and in speaking about this topic with friends i realize so many are so clueless about melanoma. they think it must be some ugly looking, huge, black mole. in reality, i know a few people that have pretty small melanomas that werent dark at all and looked like a little freckle.

    so did your melanoma fit the description that most people assume – or did it look pretty harmless and your dr was even surprised by the diagnosis.

    i am just curious – i know may is melanoma awareness month and in speaking about this topic with friends i realize so many are so clueless about melanoma. they think it must be some ugly looking, huge, black mole. in reality, i know a few people that have pretty small melanomas that werent dark at all and looked like a little freckle.

    so did your melanoma fit the description that most people assume – or did it look pretty harmless and your dr was even surprised by the diagnosis.

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  • Replies
      Janner
      Participant

      My first primary fit all of the ABCDE (evolving) criteria.  Numbers 2 and 3 only fit the "evolving" or changing aspect. and were otherwise unremarkable.  I just knew they were trouble even though my derm's weren't convinced.  So for me, the MOST important factor in evaluating any skin lesion is CHANGE.  Change doesn't mean something is melanoma, but it certainly means something is more concerning.  I tell all my friends to watch for change more than any other factor – it's a rule my onc uses too.

      Best wishes,

      Janner

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      Janner
      Participant

      My first primary fit all of the ABCDE (evolving) criteria.  Numbers 2 and 3 only fit the "evolving" or changing aspect. and were otherwise unremarkable.  I just knew they were trouble even though my derm's weren't convinced.  So for me, the MOST important factor in evaluating any skin lesion is CHANGE.  Change doesn't mean something is melanoma, but it certainly means something is more concerning.  I tell all my friends to watch for change more than any other factor – it's a rule my onc uses too.

      Best wishes,

      Janner

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        lhaley
        Participant

        I totally agree with Janner. Look for change! I've had 6 primaries, all looked different and none were the ugly big black mole. I even had a bet with my oncologist (yes a melanoma specialist) over one that I asked to be removed. Still waiting for the drink from him. I didn't want to win that one.  Each of mine have presented totally differently. The one that is believed to be the one that metasticized was not raised, but did develope a few bumps in it and grew width wise. It was an orangish color, totally symetrical about the size of a dime.  Hard to believe how it changed my life…..

        Linda

        Stage IV since 06

        stable – scans next Tuesday

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        lhaley
        Participant

        I totally agree with Janner. Look for change! I've had 6 primaries, all looked different and none were the ugly big black mole. I even had a bet with my oncologist (yes a melanoma specialist) over one that I asked to be removed. Still waiting for the drink from him. I didn't want to win that one.  Each of mine have presented totally differently. The one that is believed to be the one that metasticized was not raised, but did develope a few bumps in it and grew width wise. It was an orangish color, totally symetrical about the size of a dime.  Hard to believe how it changed my life…..

        Linda

        Stage IV since 06

        stable – scans next Tuesday

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        Janner
        Participant

        Interesting, Linda.  My #2 was orange, too.  This new mole showed up on my leg and the thing that stood out most was it was orange.  2 years later, it developed a tiny black center and I had it removed.  It was my in situ.  I have one other mole I watch that isn't threatening, but its orangish color catches my attention.  #1 and #3 were both darker although may have been orange at a stage before I noticed them.  My derm has also learned to trust my gut feeling!

        Cheers,

        Janner

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        Janner
        Participant

        Interesting, Linda.  My #2 was orange, too.  This new mole showed up on my leg and the thing that stood out most was it was orange.  2 years later, it developed a tiny black center and I had it removed.  It was my in situ.  I have one other mole I watch that isn't threatening, but its orangish color catches my attention.  #1 and #3 were both darker although may have been orange at a stage before I noticed them.  My derm has also learned to trust my gut feeling!

        Cheers,

        Janner

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      joy_
      Participant

      My husband's melanoma was an amelanotic (non-pigmented).  It first appeared as a pinkish, symmetrical bump.  Asked the dermatologist to remove it, and derm said "nothing to worry about."    Approx a year later it started getting bigger and turning a little purple-ish and he went back and demanded to have it removed.  Change is a big clue that it may be melanoma.

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      joy_
      Participant

      My husband's melanoma was an amelanotic (non-pigmented).  It first appeared as a pinkish, symmetrical bump.  Asked the dermatologist to remove it, and derm said "nothing to worry about."    Approx a year later it started getting bigger and turning a little purple-ish and he went back and demanded to have it removed.  Change is a big clue that it may be melanoma.

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      akls
      Participant

      Mine looked just like the pictures when you google melanoma images.  It grew out of an exising mole that always bled and itched even when I was in high school (25 yrs. ago).  It just ended up as an ugly irregular black/brown growth.  If I had known anything about the seriousness of melanoma I would have had it removed 25 years ago.  It was under my bra strap and the strap always irritated it. 

       

      Amy S. in Michigan

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      akls
      Participant

      Mine looked just like the pictures when you google melanoma images.  It grew out of an exising mole that always bled and itched even when I was in high school (25 yrs. ago).  It just ended up as an ugly irregular black/brown growth.  If I had known anything about the seriousness of melanoma I would have had it removed 25 years ago.  It was under my bra strap and the strap always irritated it. 

       

      Amy S. in Michigan

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      CarolA
      Participant

      The mole on my midriff was there as long as I can remember.   Almost tri-colored, and totally flat, in fact, it was skin level, no elevation at all.   I am certain I showed it to my regular GP's through the years, and my ob/gyn.    It was just almost a skin discoloration, rather than a mole.   Then it elevated (at age 56), kind of a thin surface, like in a blister, but not a big color change and not a big area—the elevation was on the darker side of the "mole."   That was the change.   Noticed it in September?August?, but didn't act on it until Jan 17, 2005 when I showed my ob/gyn—-his fateful words, "I'd have that looked at"  and the tone was very direct and almost alarming.   Fast forward, early February, derm took a photo (oh oh I thought correctly), biopsied,  and 3 wweeks to the date, February 24, 2005, I heard the word melanoma and (incorrectly, inaccurately) IV–now I know was Clarks level, and my world turned upside down.    SNB, WLE and I was at Stage III.  

      The tri-color mole, almost clover-shaped, was light brown, to a darker, mole color, three separate colors, but def like a stain on my skin.   The "change" was the key.

      CarolA ~ Stage III

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      CarolA
      Participant

      The mole on my midriff was there as long as I can remember.   Almost tri-colored, and totally flat, in fact, it was skin level, no elevation at all.   I am certain I showed it to my regular GP's through the years, and my ob/gyn.    It was just almost a skin discoloration, rather than a mole.   Then it elevated (at age 56), kind of a thin surface, like in a blister, but not a big color change and not a big area—the elevation was on the darker side of the "mole."   That was the change.   Noticed it in September?August?, but didn't act on it until Jan 17, 2005 when I showed my ob/gyn—-his fateful words, "I'd have that looked at"  and the tone was very direct and almost alarming.   Fast forward, early February, derm took a photo (oh oh I thought correctly), biopsied,  and 3 wweeks to the date, February 24, 2005, I heard the word melanoma and (incorrectly, inaccurately) IV–now I know was Clarks level, and my world turned upside down.    SNB, WLE and I was at Stage III.  

      The tri-color mole, almost clover-shaped, was light brown, to a darker, mole color, three separate colors, but def like a stain on my skin.   The "change" was the key.

      CarolA ~ Stage III

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      Linny
      Participant

      I never had a mole, so my primary is not known. Doctors suspect that when one did appear, my immune system took care of eradicating it. My melanoma was not discovered until after it had spread to my lymph nodes. Fortunately, only one node in my left arm pit tested positive. The rest all tested negative.

      Linda

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      Linny
      Participant

      I never had a mole, so my primary is not known. Doctors suspect that when one did appear, my immune system took care of eradicating it. My melanoma was not discovered until after it had spread to my lymph nodes. Fortunately, only one node in my left arm pit tested positive. The rest all tested negative.

      Linda

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        carol b
        Participant

        Same here :( stage 4 on IL2,, MY whole arm pit is a tumor and spreading to chest and back and ribs. Praying for all who has to endure this plus their caregivers. Its as hard for them as it is us i believe.

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        carol b
        Participant

        Same here :( stage 4 on IL2,, MY whole arm pit is a tumor and spreading to chest and back and ribs. Praying for all who has to endure this plus their caregivers. Its as hard for them as it is us i believe.

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      Carol Taylor
      Participant

      Mine started in a mole that I can't remember not having. It was brown and looked like two moles that overlapped each other.  I know I had it before I was 18 and it didn't start doing funky things until 30 years later. In early 2008 I noticed it itching some and darkening…at about the same time, I don't recall one happening before the other. By the first part of March 2008, I woke up one morning and it had developed what looked like a bubble at the top.  Within two weeks the whole thing was black and entirely, noticably raised.  July 2008 it started bleeding, was removed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

      Grace and peace,

      Carol stage 3b

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      Carol Taylor
      Participant

      Mine started in a mole that I can't remember not having. It was brown and looked like two moles that overlapped each other.  I know I had it before I was 18 and it didn't start doing funky things until 30 years later. In early 2008 I noticed it itching some and darkening…at about the same time, I don't recall one happening before the other. By the first part of March 2008, I woke up one morning and it had developed what looked like a bubble at the top.  Within two weeks the whole thing was black and entirely, noticably raised.  July 2008 it started bleeding, was removed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

      Grace and peace,

      Carol stage 3b

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      LynnLuc
      Participant

      Mine was a flat long brown freckle…and I have a lot of freckles! Same color just instead of a dot it was elongated…

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      LynnLuc
      Participant

      Mine was a flat long brown freckle…and I have a lot of freckles! Same color just instead of a dot it was elongated…

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        Aspen2010
        Participant
        I have a long flat freckle that has a dark spot at one end. Could it be a melanoma?

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      Ranisa
      Participant

      Small milk chocolate mole that was slightly elongated, with a semi-sweet chocolate spot on one side of it.

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      Ranisa
      Participant

      Small milk chocolate mole that was slightly elongated, with a semi-sweet chocolate spot on one side of it.

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      ChrisTheWilsonZoo
      Participant

      Mine was small and in the middle of my left shoulder blade, so I couldn't really get a good look at it for myself – I just knew it itched!  I started complaining about it to doctors sometime in 1989, and every doctor who looked at it (including a dermatologist) said it was a "normal looking mole, nothing to worry about!"  In fact, the dermatologist even recommended putting hand lotion on it for the itch.  I guess the mole's small size and "normal" appearance fooled them all into completely ignoring the long-term itching component of my complaint.

      It was 1992 before I eventually found a general practictioner who listened when I said it had been itching for years and offered to remove it for me.  (Best of all, he had a plan in case insurance balked at paying for the procedure, which was a possibility at the time!)  However, even he felt it was nothing to worry about.  He was extremely shocked and disturbed when it came back melanoma. 

      I actually bless him frequently in my mind because who knows how long that mole would have remained and how far the melanoma would have progressed had he not offered to remove it.  It was 17 years before melanoma recurred in a lymph node, so my surgeon appears to have done a thorough job.  But when I'm feeling melancholy, I can't help but wonder if I would have seen a recurrence at all if the mole had been removed when I first started asking about it.

      Here's hoping times have changed.  That no insurance company denies paying for the removal of a suspicious mole, and that no doctor ignores a patients complaints about a mole that bothers them.

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      ChrisTheWilsonZoo
      Participant

      Mine was small and in the middle of my left shoulder blade, so I couldn't really get a good look at it for myself – I just knew it itched!  I started complaining about it to doctors sometime in 1989, and every doctor who looked at it (including a dermatologist) said it was a "normal looking mole, nothing to worry about!"  In fact, the dermatologist even recommended putting hand lotion on it for the itch.  I guess the mole's small size and "normal" appearance fooled them all into completely ignoring the long-term itching component of my complaint.

      It was 1992 before I eventually found a general practictioner who listened when I said it had been itching for years and offered to remove it for me.  (Best of all, he had a plan in case insurance balked at paying for the procedure, which was a possibility at the time!)  However, even he felt it was nothing to worry about.  He was extremely shocked and disturbed when it came back melanoma. 

      I actually bless him frequently in my mind because who knows how long that mole would have remained and how far the melanoma would have progressed had he not offered to remove it.  It was 17 years before melanoma recurred in a lymph node, so my surgeon appears to have done a thorough job.  But when I'm feeling melancholy, I can't help but wonder if I would have seen a recurrence at all if the mole had been removed when I first started asking about it.

      Here's hoping times have changed.  That no insurance company denies paying for the removal of a suspicious mole, and that no doctor ignores a patients complaints about a mole that bothers them.

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      washoegal
      Participant

      My mole was a fairly new mole, maybe had it for a couple of months, looked very normal.  Only reason I noticed it was because it was on the waist and began to itch.  GP thought it looked normal but removed it anyway.

      Mary

      Stage 3

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      washoegal
      Participant

      My mole was a fairly new mole, maybe had it for a couple of months, looked very normal.  Only reason I noticed it was because it was on the waist and began to itch.  GP thought it looked normal but removed it anyway.

      Mary

      Stage 3

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      naty
      Participant

      My dad's was a normal skin colored "cyst" on his head.  But his dog would not leave his head alone so FINALLY he went to the derm who biopsied it saying it's a cyst.  came back melanoma!  Had to have 3 surgeries to get clear margins and had a positive lymph nodes.   

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        Lisa13
        Participant

        Mine was "nodular" and looked like a cyst waiting to be popped. It was very red and hard towards the end, but when I saw a dermatologist last October, he said it was a sebatious cyst. Four months later, it was melanoma and had grown horizontally by almost 2 cms. Needless to say, it was growing vertically all those months.

        I always watched my skin like for changing moles and even saw the derm every 6 months. I was always looking for the signs of melanoma and thought I knew what to look for. Obviously I had no idea that melanoma could look like a bump. 

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        Lisa13
        Participant

        Mine was "nodular" and looked like a cyst waiting to be popped. It was very red and hard towards the end, but when I saw a dermatologist last October, he said it was a sebatious cyst. Four months later, it was melanoma and had grown horizontally by almost 2 cms. Needless to say, it was growing vertically all those months.

        I always watched my skin like for changing moles and even saw the derm every 6 months. I was always looking for the signs of melanoma and thought I knew what to look for. Obviously I had no idea that melanoma could look like a bump. 

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      naty
      Participant

      My dad's was a normal skin colored "cyst" on his head.  But his dog would not leave his head alone so FINALLY he went to the derm who biopsied it saying it's a cyst.  came back melanoma!  Had to have 3 surgeries to get clear margins and had a positive lymph nodes.   

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      Roberta
      Participant

      Here is a link depicting the many ways a melanoma can present;

      http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-10006772.html?tag=page

       

      Live Like You Have All Day.

      Roberta

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      Roberta
      Participant

      Here is a link depicting the many ways a melanoma can present;

      http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-10006772.html?tag=page

       

      Live Like You Have All Day.

      Roberta

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      bluepeople
      Participant

       Hubby had 2.  One was a regular mole that got quite large and started bleeding.  The other was not very big, but was dark and kind of hard??  He had asked his doctor about them about 6 months before being diagnosed and the doc said they were normal.  Finally 6 months later he asked him again and he finally agreed to remove them and Voila – melanoma. 

      Akilyn

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      bluepeople
      Participant

       Hubby had 2.  One was a regular mole that got quite large and started bleeding.  The other was not very big, but was dark and kind of hard??  He had asked his doctor about them about 6 months before being diagnosed and the doc said they were normal.  Finally 6 months later he asked him again and he finally agreed to remove them and Voila – melanoma. 

      Akilyn

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      mcanova
      Participant

      Mine was on the back of my upper leg, just out of sight.  When we would come back from camping, I would do a Tick check.  I would check myself all over looking for Ticks using a mirror, and could see something that looked like a Tick on the back of my leg.    It had a larger dark circle with iregular edges that looked like legs and a smaller lighter circle with something that looked it's fangs.   But it was just a mole.    I was always relieved that it was not a Tick.  Now the mole is gone and I have a 10 inch scar in it's place.

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      mcanova
      Participant

      Mine was on the back of my upper leg, just out of sight.  When we would come back from camping, I would do a Tick check.  I would check myself all over looking for Ticks using a mirror, and could see something that looked like a Tick on the back of my leg.    It had a larger dark circle with iregular edges that looked like legs and a smaller lighter circle with something that looked it's fangs.   But it was just a mole.    I was always relieved that it was not a Tick.  Now the mole is gone and I have a 10 inch scar in it's place.

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      mcanova
      Participant

      Mine was on the back of my upper leg, just out of sight.  When we would come back from camping, I would do a Tick check.  I would check myself all over looking for Ticks using a mirror, and could see something that looked like a Tick on the back of my leg.    It had a larger dark circle with iregular edges that looked like legs and a smaller lighter circle with something that looked it's fangs.   But it was just a mole.    I was always relieved that it was not a Tick.  Now the mole is gone and I have a 10 inch scar in it's place.

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      mcanova
      Participant

      Mine was on the back of my upper leg, just out of sight.  When we would come back from camping, I would do a Tick check.  I would check myself all over looking for Ticks using a mirror, and could see something that looked like a Tick on the back of my leg.    It had a larger dark circle with iregular edges that looked like legs and a smaller lighter circle with something that looked it's fangs.   But it was just a mole.    I was always relieved that it was not a Tick.  Now the mole is gone and I have a 10 inch scar in it's place.

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        stanjuza
        Participant

        Bumping to hear others 

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