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Kiwi Father Issues Summer Skin Cancer Warning

15 December, 2013

Kiwi Father Issues Summer Skin Cancer Warning

An Auckland father who has survived multiple surgeries for melanoma is warning Kiwis to be vigilant about sun protection and not procrastinate when it comes to getting suspicious moles checked.

Daniel Grobler, who is awaiting tests to ensure the cancerous cells found in a lesion on his chest have been successfully removed, is urging Kiwis to be more proactive with having their moles analysed.

“The emotional turmoil in putting off getting your moles inspected is simply not worth it. If you have any doubts about whether a mole may be malignant, then get it reviewed, as you might not only save your life, but you’ll save yourself and your family some significant trauma while you wait to find out,” he says.

“Peace of mind for you and your loved ones is a beautiful thing, so it’s best not to leave it too late.”

The mobile support specialist, 41, says he noticed a dollar coin-sized mole on his chest towards the end of last year.

Grobler eventually sought out the dermatologists at MoleMap, who provided a diagnosis and recommended immediate removal of the malignant mole.

His cancerous lesion was removed along with his lymph nodes to prevent the spread of the cancer.

“The whole process was extremely fast, and I soon realised the importance of being analysed early. Having not been seen straight away made the process horrifically stressful,” he says.

“It also meant my wife, son and daughter, suffered unnecessary anxiety during that time. We started to question our future plans as a family. Emotionally it was horrendous.”

MoleMap dermatologist Dr Mark Gray, says once a mole becomes malignant the cancer can rapidly spread to other parts of the body making it extremely hard to remove effectively.

“The invasive mole will grow much faster with the blood stream feeding it, and so it is reasonably easy for a safe situation to turn serious.”

Dr Gray says he urges Kiwis to act immediately if they notice any slight changes in their skin.

“Suspicions you have about a specific mole may well be justified, as though it may have sat on the skin’s surface for years, it can become invasive and grow much faster,” he says.

Dr Gray says that while around 50% of malignant moles are detected by Kiwis themselves, a significant proportion are not.

“Within a short time period, we have found three melanomas from 100 patients who have come to see me for a precautionary check up,” he says.

“Evidently, procrastination around your health is not a good idea. I’ve also seen a man in the past who was worried about a mole, and his doctor didn’t enforce getting it removed. Once he got spot checked he discovered he in fact had severe melanoma.”

Dr Gray says that with summer fast approaching, it is particularly important for Kiwis to wise up to the impact sunburn has on moles.

“While New Zealanders should be wary of the high levels of UV rays in NZ, and their association with cancer, they should also be aware of how the immune system lowers in response to sunburn,” he says.

“A lowered immune system from such an experience can be seriously damaging, making regular mole maps more important than ever.”

MoleMap is the world's most advanced melanoma surveillance programme which combines state of the art technology with the skills of specialist dermatologists to diagnose and detect melanoma at the earliest possible stage.


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