Mom-to-be grateful melanoma was detected early, urges others to get checked

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer

DETROIT – It’s Melanoma Monday, a day set aside each year to help raise awareness about the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Experts said many people skipped skin cancer checks in the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic. One mother-to-be is grateful that she sought help when she did.

Caitlin Jones didn’t think the mole on the top of her head could be cancerous, especially since she had it biopsied four years earlier. Her husband said he knew something didn’t look right.

READ: An important message from Paul Gross on Melanoma Monday

“My husband, who is quite a bit taller than I am, noticed that the spot was changing. It was much larger in size and changing color. And he said, ‘You know, I really think you should go in and have that looked at,’” Jones said.

Jones was shocked when her dermatologist told her it had turned into melanoma. She had successful surgery to remove the melanoma. She also had more than a dozen of her lymph nodes examined and the cancer hadn’t spread.

Dr. Brian Gastman is a Cleveland Clinic Dermatologist.

“I do think that had she waited much longer, she could have been toppled into a much worse stage, worse prognosis, and even to be cured, would’ve gone through a much more rigorous and intense treatment algorithm,” Gastman said.

Jones said she’s glad her husband pushed her to get checked.

“I try not to think about it because I know how quickly things can change with melanoma, and how weeks and months can significantly change the diagnosis and prognosis, so looking back, I was probably right on time,” Jones.

She is now extra cautious about the sun and encourages others to be cautious as well.

“You get one skin and one life, so take care of it,” Jones said.

It’s important to have a board-certified dermatologist examine any moles or spots on your skin that are asymmetric or have uneven edges, are larger than a pencil eraser or are changing in any way including size, shape or color.

Early detection can be lifesaving.

READ: Metro Detroit 5k run/walk honors friend who died from Melanoma

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