to see the latest news story (dated 2/22/13) shared by Ashley…
My dear friend Ashley is fighting her war on Melanoma by sharing her story with others. Her hope is to save just on person so that they do not go through what she has had to endure! Please share this story with others by putting it on your side bar – awareness is key! Thank you for taking the time to read this (dated 2/16/2011)!
I was warned about tanning and tanning beds. I had some knowledge of skin cancer but thought I was invincible and that I would never get cancer. I am 38 and began tanning in high school until I was diagnosed with Melanoma at age 33. In 2003, a tiny lesion appeared on my right buttock. A dermatologist removed the lesion and the result of the pathology was negative. Within a year the lesion reappeared and I neglected to go to the dermatologist. I didn't have insurance and didn't want to pay the money to have it removed again. I allowed the lesion to get a little larger than a quarter and it became very painful. I finally went to a dermatologist in 2006 to have it removed again. Two days after the removal the doctor said it was malignant melanoma. I was scared and a complete wreck to say the very least. Immediately I was referred to an oncologist and surgeon at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for a larger biopsy of my buttock and a lymph node dissection in the right groin. This was a crucial surgery because if the cancer had spread internally the survival rate is less than 50% in 5 years and difficult to treat. If the melanoma is caught in the beginning stages and hasn’t metastasized the survival rate is over 95% and highly treatable. The sentinel node which is the lymph node closest to the original lesion on my buttock tested positive. This time I was more scared and I had no idea what I was about to endure. One month later I had another surgery to remove more tissue and lymph nodes in the groin in order to remove as much of the cancer as possible, removing more tissue and lymph nodes in the groin. The treatment at the time was Interferon which I started 2 months following the last surgery. It was brutal and I was miserable for 2 months. My regular 6 month checkups for 3 years were negative for melanoma. However, 2 months after my last checkup in 2009, I felt a lump inside my right hip which tested positive for melanoma. I was completely devastated because I had hoped the cancer was gone for good. In 2010, I was in clinical trial studies of the drugs MDX & Yervoy (recently approved by FDA). Neither one was effective in treating my melanoma. Currently, I am in another clinical trial study of OncoVex which I started 3 months ago. My scans in January, 2011 showed cancer in my lymph nodes in both sides of my groin and upper back, my liver and my lungs. I am trying everything so I am also utilizing eastern medicine.
I want to help people to be knowledgeable about Melanoma. It’s a cancer that’s not taken seriously. The majority of people say, "Oh, it's just skin cancer, your lucky." If not detected early skin cancer is deadly. It’s so important to get regular skin checkups by a dermatologist. Also don’t procrastinate if you see something suspicious. I didn't listen when I was warned about the dangers of tanning beds and not using sunscreen. I can't take back my poor decisions but I HOPE to help others make better decisions about not using tanning beds. Nothing good comes out of tanning and cancer sucks!!
Ashley R. Trenner
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