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Catching melanoma early can save your life, but diagnosis is often a tricky process. After initial discovery of a suspicious mole there is a biopsy (which involves skin tissue being removed and viewed under a microscope). Followed by a check of the lymph nodes and suggested a treatment path.

 Just Diagnosed with Melanoma? These 24 Messages Are for YouAll of this can happen very fast because melanoma is a fast-growing, aggressive type of cancer. As such, many people with a brand-new melanoma diagnosis get overwhelmed with an onslaught of information. Many times melanoma patients won’t know someone who has been through the process.  So, we decided to ask members of our community who have melanoma what they’d tell someone who has just been diagnosed. Here’s what they had to say:

 

  1. Be your own advocate. Do the research and have the immunotherapy if it’s an option.  It’s the best chance to fight it.  Join support groups and take advantage of all the resources available.” – Diana
  2. “It’s a whirlwind of emotions. You will hear a lot of stories of ‘My aunt had skin cancer – they just cut it out and she’s fine!’ People don’t always understand that melanoma is not just skin cancer. It’s scary, and it means a new adjusting to a new normal, but with a great support team, you can beat this!” – Tara
  3. “The only thing more powerful than fear is hope. This will be a powerful time in your life, but it is NOT your life story. Remember this challenge may be real, but it is temporary. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. Do not stuff them down or dismiss them or feel guilty about them. There’s no time for that! It’s time to heal. They are valid, whatever they may be. It may sound cheesy, but you need to feel to heal. Can I say cancer sucks at times…yes! I’m not sugar coating it. But you are fully capable of getting through this. Reach out to your support network. It takes a village, and it’s okay to accept a little help. So many are here for you and support you!” – Jacquelyn C.
  4. It is curable and that half the battle is your state of mind. Staying positive is one of the most important things you can do to beat it.” – Patti
  5. “Take care of yourself, write down every question you can think of, be an advocate for yourself, ask your doctor anything that you need answered. Reach out for support, get rest and feed your body and soul. You are a warrior. Fight this. “ – Anon
  6. “Stay strong, talk to others who are (or have) dealt with the same situation. Research your doctor and all available treatments. Clinical trials can be the best treatment you get. Just get informed. “ – Brian

  1. “Stay hopeful. Cry, kick, and scream, but keep it moving in a positive direction for your care. It’s ok to be sad and pissed off. It’s ok to be afraid. Hang tight, this roller coaster is worth“ – Lisa
  2. Don’t jump to worst case scenario right away. Explore your treatment options and do what’s best for you.  Bring family members with you to doctor’s appointment, especially when you are first being seen, a lot is said and it’s hard to wrap your head around everything.  Write your questions down before your appointments and make sure your questions are answered before you leave your appointments.  Lastly, don’t read too much on the internet, especially from non-reputable websites.” – Anon
  3. “Be positive. Don’t read too much online. Don’t self-diagnose and listen to your doctor. It’s OK to be depressed a little – but fight that. “– Michelle
  4. “It sounds strange, but now is the best time to be diagnosed with melanoma. 5-10 years ago advanced melanoma was basically a death sentence. There are real options for treatment now.” – Luke

  1. “There are plenty of highly skilled, trained oncologists with knowledge of the latest research and procedures. Do lots of research yourself, talk to survivors (there are a lot more out there than you realize), and keep a positive attitude.” – Jennifer
  2. “There is hope. I was so scared when I found out because I was 2 months pregnant when I was diagnosed and I was very scared for myself and my unborn child. After giving birth my melanoma had spread throughout my abdomen. I put trust in my doctors and stayed positive. After a year of chemotherapy my melanoma had shrunk to nothing. I believed I would win and I beat it!” – Dawn
  3. “Make sure to surround yourself with the best. The best friends, the best physicians, and the best listeners you can find. It is so much to process all at once, it’s terrifying. But you can get through it. In the process you will learn you had strength you never knew existed prior.” – Caitlyn
  4. “Follow up is key, even if it was caught early. Make all your follow up appointments.” – Anon
  5. Take a deep breath and do your absolute best to remain in the present. Take it one day at a time and don’t ‘over research’ it all by going online. “- Janine

  1. “It is scary but you are not alone. Stay strong and know your options, write down questions and do your research. Have a doctor that you trust. “ – Anon
  2. “Remain calm. Take a lot of notes and have your questions prepared and written down prior to any scheduled appointments. I was so overwhelmed after hearing the word CANCER and SURGERY that I ‘checked out’ and couldn’t remember half of what was told to me. I had to re-ask a lot of questions.” – Melissa
  3. “It can, and probably will, be tough. Let your loved ones help. You are strong and can do this.” – Anya
  4. “Hug. Cry together. We are warriors now. There is strength in numbers. Every appointment, procedure, and test is gathering gear to win.“ – Regina
  5. This is not a death sentence! Research is being done, everyday! There are more treatments available now, than when I was diagnosed in 2010! However; you must be vigilant! This is the beginning of CT scans and all-body checks by a dermatologist! They will start, depending on the stage of your diagnosis, with every 3 months. As scans and checks come back clear, they will move them to every 6 months, then eventually to annually! “ – Kelly

  1. Don’t try to hide. Get someone you trust to do the research as they can filter the info you need as you need it.  Seek help from many people.  Don’t stop at the first recommended treatment, get many opinions.  My treatment was through the third hospital we visited.  Fight and don’t give up!” – John
  2. “There are a lot of good treatments now. When I was first diagnosed, they told me my prognosis wasn’t good, but here I am in remission. I found a great doctor at the university of Michigan. They specialize in melanoma there.” – Rick
  3. There are tons of support groups out there, use them. A diagnosis doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Do your research, do what is best for you and always be your own advocate in regards to your care. You know your body better than anyone.” – Anon
  4. “Try to be patient and not anxious. The waiting game is pure torture, but it doesn’t do anything until they find out if they can get it all surgically.  “ – Anon

 

Would you like to add something to the list? Leave it in the comments below. 

Related: Why One Melanoma Patient Decided to Participate in a Clinical Trial 

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