Tests revealed it was stage one melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it could spread to other areas of the body. Figures suggest when this happens only a third of patients live beyond five years.
A mother-of-one has had a fist-sized area of skin removed from her buttocks after doctors diagnosed skin cancer in one of her moles.
Jordan Lindley, 38, from Dallas, Texas, told DailyMail.com she had always had a mole slightly larger than a pencil eraser on her left buttocks.
But when the nurse went for a skin check for the first time in years, doctors raised concerns over the mole, saying it was ‘very dark’ and ‘quite sizeable’.
Three weeks later she was taken for an operation where doctors sliced off the cancerous mole as well as a large area of skin around it.
Lindley has now been cancer-free for eight months, and says she is very grateful to have had the dangerous area removed.
Jordan Lindley, 38, from Dallas, was diagnosed with melanoma on her buttocks after getting her skin checked for cancer. She is pictured above after the operation at the Dermatology Treatment and Research Center in the city
Pictured above is the mole, left, that doctors said was stage one melanoma. On the right is the scar left shortly after surgery where a ‘fist-sized’ area of skin around it was removed
She revealed her story alongside the American Academy of Dermatology to remind others to get their skin checked for cancer.
About 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma every year, estimates suggest.
It can appear anywhere on the body, with the first symptoms being a mole that is changing in shape, size or color.
This includes looking different from the others possibly due to a new pigment or an unusual-looking spread from the mole to other areas.
If left untreated the disease may spread to other areas of the body triggering metastatic melanoma — which is much more dangerous.
Almost everyone diagnosed with the cancer in the early stages survives, the American Cancer Society says. But for those who only have it detected in later stages this drops to about 30 percent still being alive within five years of diagnosis.
Lindley told DailyMail.com she had always had many small moles as well as freckles. The large one on her buttocks had ‘always been there’.
Explaining how it got diagnosed, she said she had always known to get checked because of her healthcare background — but that during the pandemic this had slipped.
Eventually, however, she said it ‘got to a point where Covid had died down and I felt I really needed to go, so that was really when I went.’
Lindley said she had noticed no changes in the cancerous mole before the diagnosis which was ‘in a place where the sun don’t shine’.
But when the results came back as melanoma she and her 14-year-old daughter were both shocked.
It was not clear what triggered the skin cancer, but doctors say people with fair skin, a history of sunburn and who have many moles are at higher risk.
Lindley is pictured above with her 14-year-old daughter. They were both shocked by the diagnosis
Dr Ross Radusky, a dermatologist at the Dermatology Treatment and Research Center in Dallas who carried out Lindley’s tests, said they paid extra attention to her because she had more than 30 moles and fair features — putting her into the high risk category.
‘We did a full skin check,’ he said, ‘where we look over the skin and inside the eyes, mouth, fingers, toes — and even buttocks’.
Warning signs of melanoma
A is for Asymmetry. Most melanomas are asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle of the lesion, the two halves don’t match, so it looks different from a round to oval and symmetrical common mole.
B is for Border. Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders.
C is for Color. Multiple colors are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colors red, white or blue may also appear.
D is for Diameter or Dark. While it’s ideal to detect a melanoma when it is small, it’s a warning sign if a lesion is the size of a pencil eraser (about 6 mm, or ¼ inch in diameter) or larger. Some experts say it is also important to look for any lesion, no matter what size, that is darker than others. Rare, amelanotic melanomas are colorless.
E is for Evolving. Any change in size, shape, color or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching or crusting, may be a warning sign of melanoma.
Source: American Academy of Dermatology
‘We spotted a very dark mole there about eight millimeters wide and four millimeters in diameter. It was quite sizable. There were also dark brown areas verging on black.’
They took a sample for testing in a lab, which led to the cancer being diagnosed about a week later.
Radusky explained that during the operation they needed to remove both the mole and the area around it to ensure that no cancerous cells were left behind.
‘This was an area a little bit larger than a fist’, he said. ‘It was a big area — but the buttocks has plenty of room and we were able to close it no problem.’
Afterwards a nurse stitched the area together. It has now healed up well, but a scar has been left on the buttocks.
Lindley said she was off work for two days after the operation, but was able to carry on as normal pretty much immediately afterwards.
‘The surgeon made sure that when she closed the wound I could feel normal and exercise and shower and everything again. I could even sit down.’
The tale was shared as part of the American Academy of Dermatology’s mission to raise awareness of skin cancers.
This year it is running a ‘2022 SPOT Skin Cancer’ campaign reminding Americans of the five steps to check for the condition.
Known as the ABCDE test these are to check moles for asymmetry, borders that are not irregular, coloring, diameter to ensure it is not unusual and evolving to look out for any changes to them.
Lindley also told her tale to encourage more Americans to get their skin checked for the cancer.
She said that since revealing her diagnosis at least one person has gone to get checked who also found they had melanoma. A 39-year-old friend has said she will also go for her first ever skin check.
‘It’s good to talk about this because people just forget,’ Lindley said.
Some health insurance plans offer skin health checks for free. If cancer is detected, they will also cover most of the costs of having it removed.
But for those that don’t have insurance a test can cost about $150 while removing the cancer could be anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000.
Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It happens after the DNA in skin cells is damaged (typically due to harmful UV rays) and then not repaired so it triggers mutations that can form malignant tumours.
Sun exposure: UV and UVB rays from the sun and tanning beds are harmful to the skin
Moles: The more moles you have, the greater the risk for getting melanoma
Skin type: Fairer skin has a higher risk for getting melanoma
Hair colour: Red heads are more at risk than others
Personal history: If you’ve had melanoma once, then you are more likely to get it again
Family history: If previous relatives have been diagnosed, then that increases your risk
Removal of the melanoma:
This can be done by removing the entire section of the tumor or by the surgeon removing the skin layer by layer. When a surgeon removes it layer by layer, this helps them figure out exactly where the cancer stops so they don’t have to remove more skin than is necessary.
The patient can decide to use a skin graft if the surgery has left behind discoloration or an indent.
Immunotherapy, radiation treatment or chemotherapy:
This is needed if the cancer reaches stage III or IV. That means that the cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body.
Use sunscreen and do not burn
Avoid tanning outside and in beds
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside
Keep newborns out of the sun
Examine your skin every month
See your physician every year for a skin exam