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Never tanned or sunbathed, yet dealing with a Melanoma diagnosis. How common is this?

Never tanned or sunbathed, yet dealing with a Melanoma diagnosis. How common is this?

Posted By
1/11/2019 11:59pm
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Replies: 8

Hi all,

As the anesthesiolgist told me when I was about to have my WLE and SNB, "Melanoma doesn't care" (that [you] have never tanned or sunbathed), still, I am wondering how many other people have this same story.

I am now 37, but a year ago I had two separate, unrelated cancers at the same time -- thyroid cancer and melanoma.  Because my lesion was pink (amelanotic), it was missed initially when I went to see a dermatologist!  It then had 9 months to grow before I noticed it felt more raised and my husband insisted I call.

Anyway, all the details are in my profile, but in short: lesion on my upper left torso (an area normally covered by a shirt), .9 mm, Clark's level III/IV, non-ulcerated, mitotic rate of 2, negative sentinel node biopsy.

As someone who has struggled with my weight my whole life, I have been a very covered up person -- never worn a bikini.  Never tanned or sunbathed.  I am fair-skainned with reddish hair, but not unusually fair or red.  As a child growing up in Baltimore, I definitely had a few bad sunburns, and in my 20s I had a bad sunburn on my back while in Greece -- but in general, I can confidently say I am good about sun protection (I live in Seattle now).

If I can rant a minute longer, I just want to add that when I am feeling low, I sometimes feel like I got a sexy person's disease (bikini/beach/tanning beds), without having the advantage of having the fun.

So how many others are baffled by this diagnosis?  It must be a misconception I had that melanoma only strikes people that tanned and sunbathed.  


Melanoma is an equal opportunity employer/invader!  It does NOT discriminate.  This post I wrote 6 years ago may nterest you:  

Yours, celeste

My sons melamona was on the top of his tongue...try explaining that one! So yeah, equal opportunity disease! (I still think sun protection is important)

how weird.  thanks for sharing.

Mine was exposure to oxidizing radiation. I had 17 surguries to my exposed area for Basil and sqaumos cell before 7 surguries for melanoma which went stage IV. After years of fighting with the DOE, DOD and the VA I had a VA judge reverse the VA'S decision and state that my cancer was caused by my exposure to nuclear warheads.

Yikes, I have not heard of that.  Sounds scary.

Hello there, 

My mom has always been in favor of covering up too, never saw her swimming, she worked in a bank and commuted in a family car,  so she basically spent majority of her life indoors. Additionally, we are Africans and melanoma is absolutely rare for our race. I mean in our entire region there are one or two people having melanoma, doctors never saw it except in photos and melanoma drugs are not registered in my country or any nearby ones. That is how rare it is. 

Yet, we got Melanoma, and caught it at stage IV. Doctors here are doing their best working with something they never saw before, we are doing our best getting her necessary drugs from Europe, and hoping for the best. 

Melanoma is not a punishment for being careless with your skin, it is just another disease and thankfully now it has some kickass treatments that benefited many. 

P.S. Maybe you would want to try working with a specialized nutritionist. Ours helped my mom feeling much better and more energized during the whole thing. 

Be positive and stay strong :)) 

Summer, thanks so much for your reply.

I am really sorry to hear what your family is going through.