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View Full Version : A mole 'down south' - treat it differently?


FearfuL
02-17-2005, 05:38 PM
Alright, so let me just lay it out there and hopefully some of you can give me some insight.

I have a mole on my vagina, on one of the lips.

The thing is, the actual mole doesn't have me concerned. If it were on my arm, I wouldn't think much of it. It's generally 'normal' looking.

My REAL concern is WHERE it's located. Like I said, if it were on my arm, I wouldn't be so freaked out. A lot of us have moles and not all of them should always be suspected of something. But vaginal cancer/melanoma is so rare that I wonder if I'm bound to get it because the mole is there.

Does anyone think or know that a mole down there would be more likely to be cancerous - or is this a silly way of thinking and I should treat it as if it were on any other part of my body?

Belle2003
02-18-2005, 09:03 PM
I had a big, raised dark brown mole on the lips also. I had it removed at age 18 along with many other moles. I had never heard of melanoma back then, but I had many moles in very inconvenient places. Like a large, raised one on my arm pit (really hard to shave there) and one where my pants waist band would rub it raw. The doctor agreed that all of these should come off. It was embarrassing but I grit my teeth and did it.

Now I am totally thankful that I was so uninhibited at such a young age. It would be difficult to have to monitor that mole for any changes.

If it worries you, tell your dermatologist that your monthly pads are irritating it and you can't stand it any longer. You get the idea. Get rid of them and you will have two less things to worry about!

wild_thang_386
02-19-2005, 02:42 AM
i would think....if its normal looking then u have nothing to worry about it. i also thought this was strange when i saw it. i always thought the sun caused moles and here i got 2 where the sun dont shine. i just dont remember all the signs to look out for...1. odd shaped, 2. discoloration (sp?), 3. ????. does anyone else know the other 2 signs of cancer in moles??? also what was the color of cancer--->brown?

FearfuL
02-20-2005, 08:39 AM
heh, thank you, Belle! How did they remove it down there? Shave or took the whole thing out? Ack, I'm sure that wasn't an uncomfortable few seconds.

By the way, if you see this, I hope you don't mind me asking another question. In another thread, you were talking about one of your biopsy wounds healing on your chest. Was that a shave biopsy as well? How long did that take to heal? Mine is still kinda dark right now (been close to a week); I guess it's supposed to get lighter.

And wild thang, cancer can be any color, but I think they're usually dark. Though that doesn't mean just cuz it's dark, it's cancer.

The 4 things they usualy tell you to look out for are the ABCD's. It's easier to remember this way I think.

A - asymmetry. If you folded it in half, would they match up?

B - border. Are the edges jagged?

C - color. Are there different kinds of pigmentation?

D - diameter. Is it larger than 6mm?

BonBe
02-20-2005, 11:37 AM
well Lee Lee I had the similar thing. No shave, my doctors would not even think about that.

I had an excisional biopsy done, and it came back a thick (4.00 mm) Malignant Melanoma putting me to a stage 2B. The biopsy scar was about 2 inches like a happy face, but the WLE is about 7 or 8 inches long from shoulder to shoulder about 2 inches below the nape of my neck. If I wore scooped back neck stuff it would be gross.

IT is a small (very small ) price to pay knowing there are clear margins. However it has put me into the 'system' and I am following the rules, haha Oncology appt every 3 months Derm appt every three months, and CT scans every six months (upped from every 3 months due to chest nodules) Personally I would rather be alive so scars are nothing. (I am also older like 54) so really in the great scheme of things.... who really cares.... as long as it is caught. I have to have two more suspicious things removed, upper inner thigh, and mid back on the spine...so I am not looking forward to that. But I am thinking ever so positive that it will all be ok.

My first mole was huge, ugly and raised. Black as midnight too! it had been there for years but just a small flat thing.... My family doctor did not think it bad cept for the size, and neither did the plastic surgeon she sent me to for removal. All moles must be biopsied so the normal course went its way. The dx was shocking to us all, and in 6 days from the stitches from the biopsy removal and the pathology was read, I was in hospital having a WLE then six days after that, I had my first melanoma onocology appt set at a major cancer hospital here in Toronto. An offer to take part in the clinical trials for 'randomized study of four weeks high dose IFNa2b (interferon) but I had to decline for family reasons.... my situtation now is vigilance, by all these doctors and myself and if a reoccurance happens it will be dealt with. Melanoma is def not a walk in the park..... so even though I never sun tanned in my life, (sit in shade) I was burned a few times when I was a kid, and that is prob part of the reason. Just all of you be smart, cover up, slather on stuff, and wear wide brimmed hats, and just follow the rules.

That is where we sit now. SO yes when in doubt cut it out, and never allow a shave to b e done, as LEE LEE says a true stage cannot be determined on a shave. My mole had a thickness of 4 mm which is the high end of stage 1 puts me up a stage....and they do not mean how big is the part we see on our bodies....it can be small on top but wide in the bottom, but mainly if caught in time, and removed all is well.

I seriously doubt I could be that brave as Belle was at age 18 now that would freak me out...(now as well) one of the next two set for demolition haha is upper inner thigh, that is embarassing enuff for me..... (*but that is just me)

Take care one and all
Bonnie

FearfuL
02-20-2005, 12:00 PM
lol, it'd be embarassing here too, Bonnie.

*sigh* Unfortunately, my doc already did a shave on another part of my body. I didn't know much about biopsies and didn't really think, 'lemme research this first' as I thought they were routine.

I just hope with all of my might that it wasn't the wrong call.

BonBe
02-20-2005, 12:25 PM
You know when it comes down to it.... any call is the best call at the time the call was made. No one died from a shave biopsy, just now you know more and if there ever is a next time. It just helps for staging, and that is but a small sampling. I was informed, that if treatment were ever to be needed the staging helps set that in motion (what to do) but really as you know by now.... that there is no cure for melanoma..... the drug trials, the treatments are still all just being tried, some have sucess, some do not. It to me is like russian roulette only the loaded gun just pops up or doesnt pop up. VIGILANCE, and keen eye. Trust in the doctors, and learn all you can without going overboard about melanoma. It is NOT JUST SKIN cancer...... it is a bad thing (of course all cancer is bad) but you know what I mean.

You had a questionable mole, you had it dealt with, and if truth be told, I do not know what I would do if I went for a shave (not knowing diddly squat about this) and found out later it was 'the wrong call' no wrong calls here m'dear... nope.

Excisional biopsy is to me the most thorough, punch biopsy doesnt remove the whole thing.... either which way a WLE and most often a SNB (sentinel node biopsy) will be done. I did not have the SNB as my problem was a real shocker and a rush job and our local hospital is not equipt for that. However, once the oncologists (I have so many of them at the melanoma clinic at Princess margaret, I call them my "herd of oncologists" hahah once they got over the shock "YOU DID NOT HAVE A SNB????" and tsking and shaking of head, what can they do? nothing.... it has to be done before the WLE is done (usually at the same time) like within 2 or so hours before surgery. It is not a 'cure' it is simply a diagnostic tool in a way.

You did ok..... I do not have the guts to argue with a doctor either, and if I knew about no shaves, and he was going to do it, I would prob pass out with fear.... my doctor immed said excisional (even though he thought only a nasty mole) that is his way..... and he dug, and he dug, and when they found the thickness and depth and mm cells like I said earlier IT WAS SPEEDY BONNIE whooshed from hospital to hospital. But I am alive!!!! so are you and we plan to stay that way./

Just continue to educate yourself. Being proactive in your treatments is key here.

Bonnie

Belle2003
02-20-2005, 04:39 PM
Hi Fearful:

I believe that my down under mole removal decades ago was a shave. There were no stitches like the mole removal on my underarm and on my waist. There was just a small needle jab for the pain killer and presto it was off. The doctor had already removed moles on my neck, underarm, chest, waist and three on my back. I figured that I was practically naked I might as well show him the one down there and get that one taken off too! Who knew decades later how grateful I would be for my quick thinking!!

The mole biopsy on my chest was a shave also. In the beginning it was red and a keloid formed slowly over two months. The doctor said that on the chest keloids are very common. I had it removed at the same time I had MOHS done on my nose. I was fortunate that my MOHS doctor included reconstruction in his fee. When I went to have laser treatment done to reduce the redness on the nose scar, he also zapped the scar on my chest. Six months later when I had my second MOHS on another spot on my face I asked him to give me a shot of cortisone to flatten out the keloid. It is now totally flattened and I just put a dab of concealer to match it to my white (no sunshine for me) skin.

So unfortunately I cannot tell you how long it took the redness in my scar to fade. I purchased a concealer stick at the local drug by Physician's Formula for under $5. This concealer stick really helps to cover any redness as I used it before the laser treatment. If you do get a keloid I would recommend that after six months asking for the cortisone shot. I don't know if the over the counter scar reducing strips reduce the redness. Perhaps Bonnie was is very knowledgeable might know. I wish you luck on the healing of your chest scar. My scar is so high up that only a high neck shirt would conceal it. That eliminates 89% of my tops.

BonBe
02-21-2005, 03:30 AM
Every single time I had surgery, (two c sections, gall bladder, several back of heel surgeries and even a achillies tendon rebuilt, I always get horrid keloid tissue. The foot one was always ok cos hey it is just a foot, the babies were done on the horizontal at the pubic line, so really outside of sore incisions back then (my 'baby is now 25) I am not likely to parade in public.

hahah

This recent one from cancer, on the back of the neck (upper back) is a mess for sure. it is a long long one (WLE) and true to my nature of skin it went all purply, raised and sore and itchy and icky. like a big fat purple juicy worm eeeeeew.

I am in middle of 'scar therapy' and since no matter what was done, I would develop this keloid stuff (I am never able to get a proper face lift cosmetic type surgery due to the skin stuff) but that is ok. This plastic surgeon prefers not using cortizone, as it is not permanent. I had injections into my heel before having the orthopedic surgery, to relieve pain it works but not forever in my case..... so my doctor now is using

Cica Care which is a silicon gel. (not over the counter, but prescription) here anyway.... two strips about 7 inches by 1 inch were $37.50 CDN used (in my case cos I want the scar diminished) I am wearing it 24 hours a day. However, it is for 8 weeks then we see. My daughter and hubby who apply it for me, (it is resuable) simple peel it off, (feels like clear (never mind) hahah but in strip form you simple wash it with soap and water and dry it in a lint free cloth, and pop it back on the scar. They say it is smaller and less angry, and to me it doesnt hurt as much. (still hurts) but not as bad. My 8 weeks will be up March 8th so fingers crossed.

Because one side of this strip is sticky after being washed and dried, it doesnt require adhesives which I am also allergic to.... it is clear and when it goes cloudy (depends on how long you wear it) toss it out and use the next one. I bet in the states this stuff is cheaper. It was invented in Australia, and I researched it by googling in the name of it...... gots lots of info on it.

Read about it....and keep it in mind when faced with scar tissue Belle since it is clear it is not so bad to look at.

Thankyou for your vote of confidence, I had to learn about Melanoma, as no one seems to realize how serious it is. I did not know it was not treatable cept for cutting it out.... and how it can metasticize (that is the scariest feature of this beast)

Take care everyone
Bonnie

TampaSal51
02-21-2005, 05:25 AM
I, too, had a mole "down there". I had it completely removed when I had my first child. Figured as long as I was already numbed up, why not. :) It was not cancerous.

As for how long it takes for a shave biopsy to heal, I recently had 3 shave biopsies, one on my upper back, one on my belly and one on my tailbone. After one week the one on my back had healed and I didn't notice it. After two weeks the one on my belly finally healed over and was no longer sore. After three weeks the one on my tailbone FINALLY healed over. It is still itchy and tender to the touch today, 6 weeks after the biopsy was done. Guess it all depends on where on your body it was done and how much they actually shaved off.

FearfuL
02-21-2005, 06:58 AM
Thanks, Bonnie and Belle. It's comforting conversing with you.

Bonnie, they need to be teaching this stuff in health ed. But they seem to focus more on unprotected sex etc. I know I never learned anything that I can remember anyway about mm until I did some searching on the net.

TampaSal, thanks for the reply. =) Were you told to apply ointment/bandages to the wounds as well? And well, curious me wants to know - did you get those 3 shaves because you or the doc thought they were suspicious? I'm guessing they turned out ok.

BonBe
02-21-2005, 07:12 AM
Yes they should begin to educated kids as early as possible and keep on re-enforcing it... Melanoma is a bad thing, and NOT JUST SKIN CANCER everyone should read up on it, and it should be taught in all the schools world wide. I know of folks in Norway, who have MM and in Estonia, and places that you would never think.....let alone in the states and Canada.

reminds me in the USA apparently may is melanoma month..... lots of folks are doing things to make everyone AWARE...... it is a shame..... all the TV shows depict young people all bronzed and glowy.... when the reality should be told....

Moderation, and lots and lots of sun screen or down right full block! I am so thankful that i never was a sun worshipper (never could understand the logic in wasting all that time) but if I had and ended up worse than I am.... well..who knows.

Bonnie