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A little about John and his fight with melanoma:
In February 2010, at the age of 45, John was diagnosed with melanoma. It began as a small bump on the back of his head the previous July. Over the next few months it grew into an irregular-shaped, bi-colored mole about one-half inch in diameter. By January, John had it checked by a dermatologist who performed a biopsy and gave the diagnosis. On March 8th, John underwent his first melanoma related surgery to remove the mole and four lymph nodes. The mole was completely removed but there were a few cancer cells found in one of the lymph nodes. Therefore, one week later on March 15th, John underwent his second surgery to remove over 20 additional lymph nodes from his neck. Great news - There was no evidence of cancer in any of the lymph nodes.
Though recovery from back to back surgeries was rough and had a few complications, John went back to work after a few weeks and moved on with his life. He witnessed his daughter’s graduation from college, bought a new Harley, attended his son’s wedding, took a two week motorcycle trip to California, got engaged and spent a lot of time with friends and family.
All the while, John was under the continued care of an oncologist. Throughout the year, he received multiple blood screenings and body scans that were all negative as recent as December 15th 2010. After celebrating the New Year, John complained of back pain and was admitted to the hospital on January 15th. Shortly after, he had back surgery to remove the tumors that were found to be compressing his spine. The diagnosis came back as metastatic melanoma and the doctors said he had less than one year to live. Unfortunately, the cancer spread too rapidly and John passed away early in the morning on February 5th 2011.
John may have lost his battle with cancer but he won the war – he is at peace and in the presence of our Lord and Savior. John is sadly missed but will always be lovingly remembered.
He was a guiding light to all who loved him.
Facts about Melanoma:
Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide.
If not caught early, melanoma is known to be the most deadly of all skin cancers.
The median lifespan for patients with advanced melanoma is less than one year.
In 2009, nearly 63,000 people were diagnosed with melanoma in the United States, resulting in approximately 8,650 deaths. This means every eight minutes someone is diagnosed with melanoma and every hour someone dies from the disease.
Melanoma can be successfully removed and monitored by regular skin screenings in its early stages. However, the disease is deadly in its most advanced stages as few treatment options exist.
The American Cancer Society estimates that the risk of developing invasive melanoma in the United States is 1 in 41 and 1 in 61 for men and women, respectfully.
The incidence of people under 30 developing melanoma is increasing faster than any other demographic group, soaring by 50 percent in young women since 1980.
Melanoma primarily affects individuals in the prime years of life and is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.
Although melanoma is most common in Caucasians, melanoma can strike men and women of all ages, all races and all skin types. The mean age for diagnosis of melanoma is 50, while for many other cancers it is 65-70 years old.
Visit www.melanoma.org for more information and other ways you can increase your awareness.
Through awareness we can make a difference!