(ABC4) – Melissa Albin may not be here today if she hadn’t taken her daughters to the park one warm afternoon. Albin’s story serves as a great reminder to always wear sunscreen and seek routine skin checks.
Albin, a busy mother of two and special education teacher, admits that she has fallen short in the past in caring for her health.
“Mom and teacher came before me,” she said.
As noted by Cleveland Clinic, everything changed for Albin one day after an encounter with a stranger in the park.
“It was a warm day, I was wearing a tank top. And I was watching them over on the playground and I had my arms up on the stroller and I noticed a woman off to the side who kept looking at me,” she recalled.
Albin, confused, watched as the woman finally approached her.
“She approached me and she said I am really sorry if this is odd, but I want to let you know I am a dermatologist and I have been looking at that mole on your arm and it’s really alarming to me,” she told Cleveland Clinic.
Though Albin was previously warned by her general practitioner to get the mole examined, she never followed up, but made sure to take action this time around.
“I thought it looked very suspicious and so I did a biopsy of it and that biopsy turned out to be melanoma,” said Philip Bernard, MD, who specializes in family medicine for Cleveland Clinic.
According to the Mayo Clinic, melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer that develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, or the pigment that gives your skin its color. The exact cause of all melanomas is unknown, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning beds increases your risk of developing melanoma.
After being told the news, Albin was shocked.
“I was very surprised because I just chalked it up to just another mole,” she said.
Dr. Bernard notes that Albin is extremely lucky, as her story could have had a much different outcome.
“The depth of the mole was less than a millimeter, so if she had waited until it got to a millimeter, her survival from that would have been significantly less,” he explained.
Albin went on to have the mole removed and is now doing well. However, it’s important to note that many of us may not be as lucky as Albin. As summer approaches and the UV index gets stronger, taking care of your skin is crucial.