Chance Check Leads To Diagnosis

Sep 8, 2023 | News

It seems to have become a regular and rewarding occurrence for the Melanoma New Zealand team to have a former visitor from one of our spot check events pop in to thank the team at Mystery Creek Fieldays.

These visits mean so much to us, especially our nurses, who work hard to provide free spot checks nationwide. One of those who took the time to share her appreciation was Te Awamutu Phlebotomist Julia Robertson.

Having grown up on farms, Julia and her husband Aaron are Fieldays regulars. They made a special effort to come to our site this year to explain if Julia had not visited us at the 2022 Fieldays, she probably would not have done anything about a spot on her face, which has since been diagnosed as melanoma.

“I have always had lots of freckles but never gave them much thought. But there was one spot on my nose that was raised, and I just happened to stumble across you guys at the last Fieldays, so I decided to get it looked at.

“Your nurse was more concerned about a mole on my cheek that was about the size of my small fingernail and had fuzzy edges around it. Looking back at old photos, I have had the mole for about three years.

“I followed her advice and saw my doctor, who took photos and referred me to a specialist.”

Julia said because she had been seen by Melanoma New Zealand’s Nurse and recently connected with her birth family, where she learned some had melanomas and squamous cell carcinomas removed, she insisted on asking to have the spot excised.

Six weeks later, she had surgery and assumed no news was good news when she didn’t hear any more.

“Unfortunately, I had slipped through their follow-up appointment system, but they then rang to say I had melanoma in situ and would be booked for more surgery.”

The week before Fieldays, Julia had undergone further surgery to go in deeper and wider to remove more tissue. She has recently been given the ‘all clear’ and will return for a check-up next month to see how the healing is going, and then have six monthly check-ups after that.

Julia urges others to check their skin regularly for suspicious spots and to trust their instincts.

“If something doesn’t feel right, follow it up. I would hate to think where I would be (or wouldn’t be) in another three years if I hadn’t acted!”

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