Pregnancy is such a joyful and stressful time! An expectant mother has so many things to consider in preparing for the arrival of her new little one – melanoma is typically is not among them. But amid the visits to the obstetrician, don’t forget to set time aside to see your dermatologist. Hormonal changes, genetics and a suppressed immune system can create the perfect storm in the development of melanoma in pregnant women.https://cle.clinic/2X0R0hP
Jamie Martell, a young mom in Maryland was blindsided by her diagnosis. She generously shares her story in the hopes that it will raise awareness of the unforeseen risk to young moms.
“I was 27 years old – newly married to the man of my dreams and pregnant with our first child. A boy! All of those beautiful wonders of life I had imagined were unfolding right before my eyes.
I had heard of melanoma before, but I can assure you that I never took it seriously or thought it was something that could happen to me. To me, it was just something that happened to older people that got a a little too much sun throughout their life.
I was around 5 months pregnant when I noticed a mole on my thigh start to drastically change. It went from something I hardly noticed to something I could no longer ignore. My husband encouraged me for weeks to get it checked out and thankfully I finally listened. It was stage IIb Melanoma – which meant it was aggressive and growing rapidly. I was quickly scheduled for a surgery to remove the cancer and some surrounding skin. We then received the news that the surrounding skin was free of Melanoma cells and so at that point we thought I was in the clear.
A month after delivering my son we found out how very wrong I was. Not only did we discover that Melanoma isn’t always just something you can “cut out”, but it also was thriving off of the hormones from my pregnancy
The cancer had very quickly spread to multiple lymph nodes within my body and my oncologist revealed that another surgery wouldn’t cut it. I would need to start a systemic treatment called immunotherapy.
A couple of years later, after a lot of trial and error, we were thrilled that we had finally found success in a treatment! However, a second pregnancy brought the Melanoma roaring right back into my world. I was forced to deliver our daughter (Maisie) 6 weeks early in order to start yet another treatment.
I am so passionate that everybody should see a dermatologist annually, but especially passionate that women should see a dermatologist during their pregnancy. The hormonal changes in your body during this time can result in changes to your skin.
Something so easy and simple to do could save losing precious moments with your children, it could save the pain your family endures as they wish they could take it all on for you, it could save you from surgery after surgery and treatment after treatment…it could ultimately save your life!”
Jamie Martell: Wife, Mother, Melanoma Survivor