So… yesterday I went into hospital for my follow-up appointment. They had the results of my biopsy, after my procedure a few weeks ago. It turns out that the mole I had removed was actually… a malignant melonoma. It’s a relatively rare form of skin cancer which, if left untreated, can cause problems (i.e. do the nasty usual cancer-y trick of spreading to the lymph glands and killing you eventually).
It was a diagnosis I wasn’t expecting, to be honest. I’d heard that cancers of the skin were often benign but needed to be removed, so I was expecting something like that.
On the plus side: they removed the lesion at an early stage (it was 0.8mm deep which I think is pretty good); they couldn’t see any other moles which might be a problem; and there was no swelling in the lymph glands in my neck which means it hadn’t spread.
What they need to do now is do a wide skin biopsy – i.e. remove some more skin around where the took the mole out, just to check they caught all the melanoma cells. That will mean I’ll have a slightly bigger scar on my right temple, but it will fade and I think I can live with that.
In general, the doctors were very reassuring: they use the word ‘cured’ of the melanoma, which they have repeatedly said to my Mum is not possible for her lung cancer. Assuming that they find the cancer hasn’t spread (which they seem to think is likely), the main things I have to worry about are a 10-20% chance of the cancer recurring, and taking as many precautions with the sun as possible.
So there you go. I have, or to be more precise (hopefully) had, skin cancer.