I'm 28 and Scared out of my mind- just diagnosed

Posted By
8/16/2010 12:52pm
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Replies: 14

I can't even believe I'm writing this, but here goes my introduction. I'm 28, female, and just diagnosed with melanoma. It is believed to be localized, but they do have to go back in and remove a larger area around where the mole was. I had another mole tested and it came back as highly abnormal (not malignant as far as they could tell) and something about possibly invasive. The pathologist actually called my doctor because they were so concerned since I'm so young.

I've had the normal sunburns, but I don't use tanning beds (with the exception of a few times before my wedding 6 years ago), and I'm not someone who is always in the sun.

My doctor is talking to a dermantoligst to see how we should approach this.

I'm so scared right now. I also have another issue going on in which I am having a kidney ultrasound today for. It could be nothing or it could be cancer which would be extremely rare for my age, but then again, I now have skin cancer at 28.

I'm hoping to find some comfort and community in this group.



Sorry for the double post

I am the health educator here at MRF and I just wanted to let you know we are here for you.  I have only been with the foundation for one week so I am still learning, but we will help you in any way that we can.  I'll be praying for positive results of your kidney ultrasound.  The individuals on this board are wonderful and can definitely provide you with the comfort and support you are looking for. 


Hi Uvagirl,

Please try to be calm and gather infomation.  Get a copy of the Pathology Report and review it with your Doctor (Dermatologist?).  Ask the Doc for a detailed explaination.  Your Doc wants to make sure that the area around the original mole excision is "clear" and that the border areas show no melanoma, both on the surface and below.  You will want to ask what "Stage" you have - it most likely Stage I.  In its early stages, melanoma can be effecitively treated by surgery, whih you ar doing.  You will need to be vigilant going forward looking for other potential moles, although melanoma can occur without you or your Doctor finding it.  It can also be extremely small, like a pen point.  It does not have to be from a mole.  Please do some research on your own, but do not be fearful of knowledge - you need to become educated.

This board is more geared to later Stage patients - III and IV, but other may have more information for you.  It can take some time to get responses, but I wanted to offer you some reassurance.  I am a Stage IV patient myself.

Best Wishes,




Dear uvagirl,

I am so sorry you have to deal with this.  I noticed your name contains...UVA...are you by chance in Charlottesville, VA...If so ....you have wonderful MELANOMA SPECIALISTS right there at UVA Medical Center.  I see Dr. Weiss, Medical Oncologist,  and will be happy to give you the numbers and names....I drive 3 hours and am very happy with my care. 

Debbie Stage 4 NED 

Post what it says in your pathology report and we'll be able to tell you everything you need to know.  Ask your Doc to fax it to you or scan/email it to you.  The sooner you get it to us, the faster we can help.  We'll be looking out for it.  

Yes, it's shocking.  I was diagnosed with an early melanoma at age 29.  That was 18 years ago.  Truthfully, 28 isn't all that young when it comes to melanoma.  It's the number one cancer for women ages 25-29.  Get copies of your pathology reports as the other mention.  Post them here.  Ask questions.  We can help you navigate, but we need more information (which would be on the pathology reports). 

Best wishes,


Thanks all. I'm still an emotional mess, but I'm trying to find a way to cope with what is ahead of me and deal with reality while still being hopefull about the future.

I will talk to my doctor tomorrow about the pahthology report (and hopefully get my ultrasound results back so please pray and keep your fingers crossed on that). My doctor is a GP so I know she will be referring me elsewhere for further treatment.

I'm about an hour outside of Charlottesville. I got my master's degree at UVA and do go back to cville quite a bit (family and friends there).

I live in Fishersville and go to Dr Craig Slingluff at UVA.  He specializes in MM and he is wonderful.  His staff is helpful and supportive and you will think you are his only patient.  I'm sure there are other good Dr's, but I feel so blessed to have him on my side. 

Good luck.  Whoever you go to...find someone who specializes in MM.  You are lucky to be in VA, because the care here is good.   

I will keep you in my prayers.  Please keep us informed about your treatment.  This is a well informed, supportive group with so much concern and help available.  Good luck.  BethA in Va   (diagnosed in 1993, NED for 10 !/2 yrs, and now Stage 3B and NED again for 4+ yrs)

Melanoma tends to cut into your looks!!



 I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. Just try and stay calm, I know this is really difficult time right now. As others mention you need to research and research some more. You need to be very educated about this d disease. Staying on top of different treatment options and addressing them with your oncol.

One thing that I would suggest doing if you are not already. Is bringing at least 1 other person with you to your appts. Everyone picks up of different things that are said and thinks of different questions to ask. By doing this you'll have a better chance of recalling what the doctor had to say. Best of luck and keep us all posted


Ok, I talked to my doctor today after I did research and knew more of what to ask.  The report didn't list a depth, but states that it is in situ and has not spead to the dermis layer which from reading, is very, very good news. This was a mole I had removed just below my neck. The outer edges showed no cancer. So I'm very fortunate, we caught this early!

The second mole, one on my lower back, was only biopsied and was ruled to be precancerous, but with melanoma signs (again in situ if they had ruled it melanoma).

However, this means I have two spots, in different areas. Yikes! I am obviously at high risk and will have to be very, very careful in the sun and be on top of frequent check ups from here on out. My GP did a general scan of most of my body when she found the one mole, but I know I need a dermatologist to check me from head to two to rule out any other spots.

I have a consultation with a plastic surgeon next week and I'm still working on getting into a good dermatologist.

Thanks again to you all for the feedback and advice. Best of luck to everyone here. My husband, his mom, and co-workers have all volunteered to go with me to any and all appointments if I wanted someone with me. I do have a very strong network of people who care which I now value more than I have ever realized.

Take care,


If you have to have melanoma, in situ melanoma is where you want to be.

Just a quick comment about "precancerous".  That's really a misnomer.  Precancerous implies that if left alone, the lesion will turn into melanoma.  That's just not the case.  The vast majority of lesions ruled "atypical", "dysplastic", "precancerous" will stay exactly as they are.  What you look for on the pathology reports is the degree of atypia.  Most pathologists will grade the lesion as having either mild, moderate or severe atypia.  The severely atypical/dysplastic ones are the most likely to change into melanoma - but even that isn't any guarantee.  It is also quite uncommon to have more than one melanoma primary.  Only about 8% ever do.

Yes, it is good to see a dermatologist regularly.  Yes, it is good to practice sun safe techniques.  Watch your moles for CHANGE.  (I suggest some type of photography - ask your dermatologist).   Lesions that are changing are the ones to be most concerned about.  Even then, that doesn't mean they are melanoma, however.   Just more suspicious.

My mantra is to be vigilant, but not paranoid.  I've had 3 melanoma primaries and found them myself.  All have changed.  I utilize photos to help me monitor my moles - I call it my independent eye.  Keeps the imagination in check.

Being newly diagnosed is stressful.  It does get easier with time...

Best wishes,


 I just wanted to add not to just watch your body for moles but if you ever have a small bump, which is what I had, they thought it was a cyst for a few months til I went back cause it didn't go away.  I had no primary on my skin.  That little bump wound up being the size of an egg with malignant melanoma in the center.  That is where my whole journey started so don't stop with moles and changes, bumps that are very small should be checked right away too.  Good luck

Teresa in Indianapolis

Remember what's important and make everyday count

I'm so sorry you have to experience this fear.  Please know that you aren't alone.  I am a 32 year old single mom of a 2 1/2 year old son that was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in July.  I've already had 2 surgeries removing a tumor on my right thigh and all lymph nodes in my right groin.  I am seeing my dermatologist on tuesday because I have some new spots that popped up on my left shoulder and have changed rapidly.  I am also terrified.  Please email me if you ever want to talk.  I understand what you are going through. 



 P.S. I posted about Dr Slingluff, but then saw you don't have a dermatologist yet.  Dr. Hannah Pierce is at Albemarle Dermatology and is very good.  She will take the time you need and is very detailed.  She kept looking for my problem even after a pathologist report came back negative.  My mm was there, just very deep and she found it.  She listens to my fears and makes me feel in control.     Good luck.

Melanoma tends to cut into your looks!!