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Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

8 May 2020 14:27

Hi everyone, 

I’ve just found this forum and I was hoping for some helpful, reassuring words. 

I am 25 years old and have had a suspicious mole on my shoulder change quite significantly over the last 4 months. Fast forward to this week and my GP examined it under a dermatoscope after it had changed again. These pictures were then sent to the dermatologist and within 24 hours my GP called me to say the dermatologist wanted to see me under an urgent, 2 week referral.

This has made me really worried as the dermatologist has already seen the pictures from the dermatoscope and, from what I understand, it is these pictures which have warranted an urgent referral. 

Can anyone who has experienced this process before please let me know what to expect at my appointment? It’s in 6 days. 

Thankyou,

Sophie xx

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

8 May 2020 23:33 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

In August 2018 I went to my doctors about a fatty lump on back, luckily for me my doctor noticed a mole on my chest, and before I knew it I was going through the same as you. 

At my 2 week referral it was agreed it needed to be removed, to be honest this was a relief the last thing I needed was to leave this mole on me as it was changing daily..

The best way to approach a possible Melanoma whether it’s Cancerous or not is to get it removed, trust me it’s better out than in. 

The next thing was the removal, it was quite straight forward for me local anaesthetic injections in and around the mole. Once completely numb a cm all the way around the mole was removed and I was stitched back up again. I can’t remember the time scale for the results but it was definitely not long. Unfortunately though for me it came back Cancerous and I had to go back in for another cm to be removed. Luckily this time the biopsy was clear..! 

18mths down the line with having regular 3mthly dermatology test at the hospital and weekly checking my Lymph nodes my Melanoma is totally cleared up..

All I can say is that my Melanoma was caught early and removed and to be fair was reasonable pain free, hopefully fingers crossed the same will be for you so stay positive (which I know is not easy, but you can do it..!) and let the great NHS Staff sort it out for you...

 

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

9 May 2020 09:37 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

I know how anxious you must be, being referred & it happening so quickly. Your GP has been great in dealing with you so promptly & the 2 week referral is standard for a mole that looks suspicious. Your referral appointment is also happening slightly quicker than usual because only referrals are being seen face to face at the moment - regular check up appointments for melanoma patients are being done over the phone because of Covid, so there is more time for the dermatologist to see new referrals.

You have been given good advice as to what may happen if the dermatologist thinks the mole needs removing for a biopsy. If it needs removing, it's usually done at a different appointment & it's done as a day surgery patient. Can I just add that 75% of people referred to dermatology are given a clean bill of health, either at the referral appointment or after biopsy results are received. A couple of recent posts on this forum have been from people in your position & their biopsies have come back clear, so the odds are in your favour.

If it should turn out to be melanoma it will depend on how deep the melanoma has grown as to what treatment happens next. If early stage, like SDG3, only routine check ups will be necessary for a short period of time. If later stage, further surgery & drug treatment may be necessary, but that only occurs in a small number of new referrals.

Good luck with your appointment and please let us know how you get on,

Angie (Stage 3 melanoma patient) 

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

9 May 2020 12:06 in response to AngieT

Thankyou SDG3 and AngieT for your thoughtful replies - I am sorry to hear of both of your diagnoses. 

I think I am a bit in shock as my partner (rightly or wrongly) had tried to convince me it was nothing so I attended the appointment perhaps a bit naive as to what the outcome of it would be. I’m still not really sure he entirely understands the possible severity of this. I’m also presuming he can’t come with me to the appointment due to COVID restrictions. 

Do you know if they’ll take a look at other moles? I don’t have many which is partly why I have the referral as the one on my shoulder looks completely out of place. Do they also tell you there and then what they suspect it is?

Thankyou both for taking the time to reply x

 

 

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

9 May 2020 12:59 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

The answer to your question regarding myself is yes if you have a face two face appointment with a Consultant, they gave me a thorough head to toe examination. 

All moles were checked under a hand held microscope and they usually will just say if they thought it didn’t look right, to be honest the only way they can diagnose a Melanoma is to remove it...

As far as COVID-19 restrictions, unfortunately at the moment some appointments will be done on a 121 bases, although it depends on the Hospital and the circumstances  

Unfortunately for me though I have just had to experience the COVID-19 restrictions first hand after being diagnosed with Secondary Lymph node Cancer  in my Neck and Primary Cancer in my Tonsils, which by the way to put you at ease has nothing to do with the Skin Cancer, and I can tell you now has been a totally different experience. 

So take care and if you need to chat about any issues that you are going through I’ve got loads of time as I’m in recovery mode after my operation...

Simon

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

10 May 2020 10:29 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

Bless your partner, it's a normal reaction to try & put someone at ease by saying everything will be fine. Most people don't understand the severity of a melanoma diagnosis until it happens to them or a loved one. I think he may have to stay in the waiting room rather than be with you at the appointment although every hospital will have different rules at the moment. 

A dermascope will be used to look at the mole - this shows any unusual cell activity. They will also either check any other moles you have or ask you if you have any other moles you are worried about. They can't tell you there & then if it IS melanoma - some dermatologists are very experienced & can tell with the naked eye but they don't tell the patient, just in case they've got it wrong - that's left to the biopsy results. I have been under the same dermatologist for many years & I can tell by her face if she thinks something isn't good but I still have to have a biopsy before she makes an official diagnosis. I've had 7 moles/lesions removed over the years, thankfully only one (the first) was melanoma, so it shows how something that looks dodgy can actually be fine.

Good luck. If I can be of any help just send me a friend request & we can chat by private message if that helps,

Angie

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

12 May 2020 20:06 in response to AngieT

Thankyou both - my appointment’s in 2 days so just waiting now. I’m feeling a bit calmer about it now and I’m trying to act rationally as I don’t know anything yet and it could still all be all clear. Thanks for all of the support and advice. I’m going into Thursday with a much clearer idea of what to expect. Do you have any advice for how to actually get through the day? I’m going to be on my own and feel quite young to be going through this so any advice on how to actually cope at the appointment would be really appreciated. 

Thankyou Angie T for the offer to chat - I’ll reach out after my referral on Thursday.

Will update when I know more.

Sophie x

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

13 May 2020 13:39 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

Don't worry about how to get through the day. There will be other patients in the waiting room & they will be a range of ages.There will also be a nurse at your appointment in case the consultant is male (as a chaperone). Don't be scared to ask any questions that you think haven't been covered, especially if a biopsy excision is advised (time scales etc). Make sure you wear something that's comfortable but easily removable for when the consultant wants to examine your mole & any others you may have. Take a magazine or a book to read in case you are waiting a while - hopefully the appointments won't over run but I always go armed with something to occupy my mind & wifi is very sketchy in hospitals. If you are worried that you will forget what has been said by the consultant, don't be afraid to take pen & paper & write down the points to jog your memory. They are also used to people taking a list of questions to ask - don't be afraid to do that if you have lots of questions you need answering. They go through this every day & they are very good at putting your mind at rest.

Good luck,

Angie x

 

 

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

14 May 2020 20:20 in response to AngieT

Hi both, 

Thankyou so much for all your support. 

I had my appointment today - the dermatologist didn’t think there was a reason to worry but advised that I have the whole mole removed anyway, so I had that done today after my initial consultation under local anaesthetic. Feeling a bit sore now! I get the results in 3 weeks. The consultant put my mind at ease quite a bit but I know there’s still a chance it may not be positive news. Thankyou so much both for your support - I’ll let you know when I get the results. 

Thanks so much,

Sophie 

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

14 May 2020 21:44 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

I'm glad to hear that you have had it removed today, they are always better out than in..! 
I had the same done, but unfortunately it came back as cancerous and then had to have a further cm taken off. 
 

To be fair after that, all was good and I've just spent the last 18mths having 3monthly checks with the Dermatologist and regularly checking my lymph nodes myself. 
Now I'm all clear as far as the Melanoma is concerned.
 

Simon

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

14 May 2020 22:07 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

Sorry it had to be removed for biopsy but it's good they could do it there and then. Keep yourself busy now to take your mind off the results. Hopefully they will come back clear.

Angie xx

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

20 May 2020 13:02 in response to AngieT

Hi both,

I’ve had a letter through the post asking me to attend the clinic in person on June 4th. Do you know if this is standard practice or do they only do in-person appointments if it’s bad news? I’ve done quite well in terms of not dwelling on this but this letter has thrown me a bit. 

Thanks so much,

Soohie 

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

20 May 2020 14:03 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

That is probably for your results, you will probably find that the results are being done a bit quicker at the moment as not so busy and I attended in person, all appointments good or bad.

Fingers crossed for a good result..

Simon

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

20 May 2020 20:28 in response to SophieM256

Hi Sophie,

It's normal practice to give results face to face whether they are good or bad. This is because they like to check the surgical wound and perhaps show patients how to check their other moles. So don't panic and hopefully all will be well,

Angie

Urgent referral to dermatologist - really worried

28 May 2020 21:33 in response to AngieT

Hi both, 

Thankyou so much for your replies. 

Just a week to wait now. Do you know what to expect at the appointment?? I’m getting a bit more nervous now about the results. Do they give you your results and then that’s just kind of it, depending on if they’re positive or negative? 

Thanks so much both for all your support,

Sophie