Skin cancer: Dr Chris outlines the signs of a melanoma
Andrea and her husband, Nico, were looking forward to welcoming their baby boy, Leo, but in the third trimester, they were delivered unsettling news.
The 39-year-old – who lives in Newlands, the south side of Glasgow – first noticed a dark freckle on her leg that had grown in size.
Referred to the dermatology department at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, the lesion was removed the same day.
Only a week later, Andrea found out the biopsy revealed cancerous cells, known as malignant melanoma.
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“There was trauma and tears when I was first given the news that I had skin cancer. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” said Andrea.
“I’ll never forget hearing those words… not ‘I’m sorry, you have cancer’, but what came next… ‘We have to get that baby out now.'”
Andrea told Glasgow Live: “I had no choice. It was just as well I didn’t have a birth plan as there was no time to get my head around anything.”
Following a 24-hour induction, 17 hours in the labour room, and an emergency C-section, Leo was born on July 24.
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The month after Leo’s birth, Andrea had a lymph node biopsy, which revealed her cancer had spread.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks. I genuinely thought I was going to die,” Andrea shared.
Andrea had “three major surgeries in the first six months of motherhood” and had 18 months of immunotherapy to put the cancer into remission.
By Easter 2021, Andrea was told she was cancer free, and now the mum wants to help others avoid the nightmare she experienced.
Andrea said: “I hope I can encourage people to think about their sun habits and take precautions.
“It’s so important because almost nine in 10 melanoma cases each year in the UK could be prevented by being safe in the sun.”
Safety measures include “using a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen to avoid burning”.
Andrea said: “If you spot something on your skin that’s not right for you, get it checked out.”
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