27 Apr Ryan Hennessey – Pittsburgh
My name is Ryan and at 15 years old I found out that I had the deadliest form of skin cancer, yes I was only 15 years old. Melanoma doesn’t discriminate. It can affect any type of person, not just older people, and not just sun bathers. The idea of skin cancer to me was nonexistent to me to say the least. i have never been a fan of the heat and was not one for going outside in the summer for long amounts of time. Thanks to my mom I always walked around with layers upon layers of sun block, and yes I still got melanoma. While at my yearly physical, my pediatrician found a mole on my head that lead to a refferal to the dematologist. It looked like your average normal birthmark and thats what i always thought is was, but still he insisted I go see a dermatologist. At my appoitment with the dermatologist, they inspected all of the moles I had on my body. They found another one on my back that could have easily been mistaken for a pimple and that was the one that lead to my diagnosis of malignant melanoma. All it took was one person to say hey that doesn’t look right and luckily for me that one person was my pediatrician. Please, if you find a spot that your unsure about, theres a reason you should go get it checked out. Its always better to be safe then allow what appears to be a harmless spot continue to grow. Once melanoma reaches your blood stream there is no cure and the life expectancy is not very long.
Since my diagnosis, my mother has me layered up with even more sun block. I wear protective shirts while out in the sun for long amounts of time. I go for regular 3 month skin check ups and always seem to get a biopsy while i’m there. I have several scars to show from my battle with melanoma; however, thanks to my dermatology team, family, and myself, I continue to overcome melanoma with every curve ball it throws me.