Together we will beat cancer


Terrified after receiving letter

30 Jul 2019 20:24

I went to the GP yesterday about a skin tag / mole thing on my face. It's been there for ages and has increased in size but a previous GP told me it was nothing to worry about. But I was starting to think it was unsightly so I thought I'd speak to the GP and maybe end up paying to have it removed.


He looked at, went "hmmm", smiled and asked if I want to be referred to dermatology. I said yes please, he smiled again, said I'd get a letter and I left.


Today I've come home saying I have a 2 week wait urgent referral for suspected cancer. I'm terrified and angry he didn't say anything yesterday. I even said I wanted to check it was nothing to worry about.

Terrified after receiving letter

30 Jul 2019 22:18 in response to RM13

Hi RM13,

 I have one of those letters and i also thought the wording (presumably ‘standard’ ) was a little brutal. I guess they’re trying to be transparent and we have to understand that everyone gets the same letter - of course it doesn’t affect the outcome... Also better to be investigated in a short time frame than not. My appointment has been brought forward so will only be 8 days since I first called my GP which is great. (And I know it was only a cancellation but the illogical part of my brain said ‘they’re moving me forward because they have me down as an especially bad case’).

I have my first appointment tomorrow, also suspected skin cancer. I am also pretty scared but these are not things we can ignore so good for us for taking it forward.

Good luck!

Terrified after receiving letter

30 Jul 2019 22:57 in response to RM13

Hi RM13.

It is very common to be put on a two week urgent referral. I've been on a few myself.  But statistically, 9 out of 10 patients who get put on this route turn out NOT to have cancer. 

The doctor should have warned you that this was going to happen and not to freak out.  But doctors are busy and get so used to handling referrals that sometimes they forget the chilling effect that the word cancer on a letter can have.  

Terrified after receiving letter

31 Jul 2019 09:39 in response to RM13


Some GP practices have a GP who specialises in dermatology and they can look at any suspect mole or lesion through a dermascope - this shows them if there are any suspicious cells and they can then refer you to the hospital dermatology clinic under the 2 week referral rule. Those GP practices that don't have such a specialist have to consider whether your mole or lesion can definitely be diagnosed as a benign skin condition - if they can't, the NICE guidelines state that the patient must be referred to a dermatologist. If it's thought it's best looked at quickly they will refer under the 2 week rule. 

All this means is that your GP isn't sure whether there is a problem so he's leaving it up to the experts to check it & decide if anything further needs doing. It doesn't definitely mean it's serious. The dermatologist will look at it through a dermascope and then decide if it needs further investigation by way of removal for biopsy. For every 10 patients that get refered to a dermatologist only 2 or 3 are found to be serious so please don't overthink this. If it transpires that you do need it removing for biopsy and it comes back positive for cancer, the treatments now available & the research that continues means that the outlook for melanoma patients is much more favourable.

While waiting, try & keep busy & do things that will distract you, whether it be work or doing a hobby you enjoy. The waiting at times like this is the hardest part so try to divert any stress by treating yourself to something relaxing. Good luck & please let us know how you get on,

Angie (melanoma patient)

Terrified after receiving letter

31 Jul 2019 09:42 in response to Freckle

Good luck Freckle, hopefully yours will be fine. Please let us know how you get on,

Angie (melanoma patient)

Terrified after receiving letter

31 Jul 2019 11:15 in response to AngieT

Thanks Angie. I have just been to my appointment and nd the consultant thinks it’s more likely to be a vascular lesion but cannot be certain, so they will book me in for a biopsy which will be in about 3 weeks. I have a lot of these but none that resemble this new one in any way. 

So slightly reassured but obviously still worried about how much a nodular melanoma could spread in the many weeks until I could be treated, if he should be wrong. I will have to find a way to stop thinking about it!

Terrified after receiving letter

31 Jul 2019 11:17 in response to Freckle

My Mum died of melanoma and my teenage kids’ Dad is no longer alive, which is all contributing to my anxiety.

Terrified after receiving letter

31 Jul 2019 12:59 in response to Freckle

I can understand your anxiety with losing your mum & your children's dad - it a lot to deal with on your own. With regards to your mum, research has been going on for some years regarding familial melanoma - fortunately it's thought to only account for a small percentage of cases so hopefully yours won't be one of them. Your consultant could obviously see some vascular activity so crossing fingers that's the case. The waiting is hard but hopefully it won't impact on any spread if it turns out to be a positive biopsy. Good luck with the surgery & please let us know how you get on. Keep busy & pamper yourself - you deserve it to try & deal with the stress,


Terrified after receiving letter

2 Aug 2019 08:05 in response to AngieT

Thanks Angie! Am feeling slightly calmer now.

Terrified after receiving letter

2 Dec 2019 23:56 in response to Freckle

Hi freckle

what were the results from your biopsy? I have my gp appointment tomorrow and I'm terrified. My mole has changed and of course I googled it and scared myself silly.

i hope your ok x

Terrified after receiving letter

3 Dec 2019 00:11 in response to rawdoodles

Hi, my results were good, it came back as a dermatofibroma - not what the consultant thought but benign. Very good luck with your appointment, I very much hope it also turns out to be good news for you. 

Terrified after receiving letter

3 Dec 2019 00:16 in response to Freckle

Thank you so much for replying.

im so glad it turned out benign. I just googled what you had and some of the pics look similar to mine so it's given me a bit of hope. I had convinced myself it was nodular melanoma as that also looks a bit like dermatofibroma. 
I will let you know how I get on. X

Terrified after receiving letter

3 Dec 2019 15:43 in response to rawdoodles


just been to my gp appointment. He wasn't worried and didn't suggest referring me but said he would to put my mind at rest (I didn't have to push for it but he didn't say straight away that he would refer me if that makes sense) he booked me an appointment with the hospital right there and then for 12th Dec. I said that's quick and he said well we might as well do it quick to put to mind at rest. He didn't mention it was on a 2 WW referral I presume not to scare me but i already knew it was and it said 2WW on the appointment letter he printed out. I'm just a bit confused how he didn't seem worried but then referred me on the 2WW and now I'm panicking myself.

Terrified after receiving letter

3 Dec 2019 17:34 in response to rawdoodles


Don't panic! The NICE guidelines for GPs state that, should they not be able to diagnose the mole/lump etc they must refer to dermatology under the 2 week rule. It doesn't mean that it's necessarily serious, they are just letting an expert examine it. 75% of patients referred to dermatology get the all clear so hopefully yours will be fine. Dermatofibroma are difficult to diagnose. I have two on my leg and they look different to the one on my shoulder that my consultant thought was a basal cell carcinoma. It was removed and biopsied and found to be a dermatafibroma! Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

Angie (melanoma patient)

Terrified after receiving letter

3 Dec 2019 17:47 in response to AngieT

Hi angie

thank you for the reply I didn't know that info so that calms me down a bit. I'm really hoping it's a dermatofibroma. I have always had the mole and it's always been a little raised but barely noticeable. I noticed it last week as it seemed more raised (but not any bigger to what it was, just a bit more raised) I caught it in the shower and it scabbed a bit so now it looks like a darker spot  on top but feels like a scab so the doc thinks the dark spot is just the scab. It's not sore and I have been taking a pic of it everyday and it's not changed in a week or got any bigger so I'm really hoping it's nothing. I've got quite a few moles and freckles that I've had for years but I suppose the dermatologist will check those. I'm sorry I'm babbling x