Three Things I Noticed After Being Diagnosed With Melanoma

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Everyone seems to have the cure for cancer

Alternative treatments can be fantastic when used in conjunction with proven treatments, and I am indeed incorporating several into my overall treatment plan. However, the likelihood of your favorite method curing cancer on its own is small.

Cancer is heterogeneous, meaning you cannot treat all cancers the same way. There will never be one solution that works for everyone. There is no cure-all. All of the advice comes from a good place, and I do appreciate the input—even if it’s unconventional.

Medical care is astonishingly insufficient at most institutions here in America

The lack of knowledge among some medical professionals really needs to be addressed.

I’m not sure how, but perhaps ensuring that they actually learn to critically analyze scientific literature in school, rather than relying on handouts, would be a good start (just being a bit of a smart ass here).

Critical thinking also needs to be taught, although that might be a more challenging endeavor. Not everyone fits into poorly done statistics, and no one has a time stamp on their foot. Cancer does not follow a linear path, and many medical professionals struggle to understand this.

This isn’t a black-and-white statement about all doctors. I have many friends who are medical professionals that utilize critical thinking and stay up-to-date with the literature. However, this isn’t the norm.

Time is also a significant issue for these busy professionals, and I have the utmost compassion for this flaw in our system. There needs to be a way to emphasize the importance of keeping current with the latest research while also allowing doctors to earn enough to pay off those substantial loans.

Medical professionals are often seen as authoritative figures. Most of the population trusts them to make critical decisions regarding their treatments and lives. Therefore, they have the responsibility to stay up-to-date on the latest research, even if their time is limited.

It’s also important to note that many, though not all, seem to have an inflated ego that makes it difficult for them to accept new information that challenges their belief paradigm. If it wasn’t taught in school, it often doesn’t exist to them.

With all that said, I’m fairly certain I’ve found my main squeeze for addressing this cancer situation. He is brilliant, one of the leading clinical researchers in immunotherapy, and can confidently say, “I don’t know,” which reflects a healthy ego. I like him a lot, and he’s a wonderful role model for many in the medical profession.

The Truth About Melanoma: It’s Not Just Skin Cancer

I empathize because I, too, once believed melanoma was merely a condition affecting older individuals after a lifetime of sun exposure and poor lifestyle habits.

However, melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer deaths worldwide and must not be conflated with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), both of which are highly curable.

Melanoma is not merely skin cancer; it is an aggressive, unpredictable, and dangerous malignancy that often metastasizes to other organs if not detected early.

The type of melanoma I have is commonly seen in children and can occur with or without sun exposure. I had absolutely no symptoms, felt phenomenal, and merely had an aesthetically annoying skin-colored “mole.”

To share some specifics of my situation: I am homozygous for a deletion on chromosome 9p21. Polymorphisms on chromosome 9p21 are associated with coronary artery disease, diabetes, and multiple cancers, including melanoma. Therefore, I urge everyone to stay up to date with their dermatology appointments.

We are also testing for the BRAF mutation, which is commonly observed in melanoma patients and will guide my treatment plan. The anticipation of pathology reports has been the most excruciating part of this entire ordeal.

So, here’s the crux of the matter: this isn’t something minor, and no, I am not yet in the clear. I have stage three melanoma at this point. We still need to conduct a CT scan and MRI to ensure it hasn’t metastasized to my organs.

The risk of recurrence and progression to stage four remains quite high.

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