Action Cancer Saved My Life

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Lyn Stevenson’s skin cancer was detected by the charity’s skin cancer detection service and she is sharing her story to spread awareness of the disease.

My name is Lyn Stevenson, I’m 45 years old and live in East Belfast with my husband John and two kids, Anna (15) and Rory (12).

I noticed a new, odd-looking spot/mole on my knee last May. As a pharmacist, I’m aware of the ABCDE check as an easy-to-remember system for determining whether a mole or growth may be cancerous. It was definitely new and did look to be changing or evolving.

After discussing it with my husband (who said it looked like nothing to worry about) that same evening I saw a tweet from Action Cancer for the new Skin Cancer Detection

Action Cancer Ambassador Lyn Stevenson

Service and right then I chose to take action and get it looked at.

I decided to book a virtual assessment, to give myself peace of mind – but also so I could tell my colleagues and pharmacy patients about how the service works, sharing my own experience.

Booking the appointment was really easy – and I had my virtual assessment a few days later.

After answering a few questions, the Skin Cancer Specialist Nurse took a look at the mole in question. She recommended I come into Action Cancer House in South Belfast for a face-to-face consultation, which was arranged for the week after.

After examination with the dermatoscope and photos of the mole were taken, I also had a mole check of my whole body. It was decided that I needed referred to Dermatology, and so the photos, along with my history, were sent straight to the Ulster Hospital for review.

Less than two weeks later I had a call to say my case had been reviewed and removal of the lesion was recommended.

This was carried out in Orthoderm clinic on 5th July along with another body scan.

On 15th August I was called back to the Orthoderm Clinic for a follow up appointment. That’s when I received the unexpected news that I had a Nodular Malignant Melanoma (stage 2b) with a Breslow depth of 1.4mm which indicated the depth which the melanoma had gone into the dermis (second layer of skin).

The Multidisciplinary team then reviewed my case, and decided that as a precaution, I should be scheduled for a Wide Local Excision (to make sure there was no further cancer cells at the original site) together with a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy. Again, to check that there had been no further spread.

Action Cancer Ambassador Lyn Stevenson is pictured with her husband John and two kids, Anna (15) and Rory (12).

This was scheduled for 6th October and on the 9th November, I got the welcome news that no further melanoma had been detected.

I am now scheduled for follow up mole mapping with Dermatology and will be applying my SPF with renewed vigour!

Nodular melanoma can grow very quickly, so if I hadn’t booked that appointment with Action Cancer, and just hoped it would go away (or listened to my husband!), I am certain my story would have had a very different ending.

I hope others might read about my experience and be spurred into action. Either to get themselves checked out – or perhaps to encourage a friend or family member who is concerned about a mole or a new or changing skin lesion to make an appointment.

The service saved my life, and I can’t thank Action Cancer enough.

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