A pregnant woman from Austin, Texas, noticed a discoloration on her face that she would eventually assume was caused by her pregnancy hormones after visiting a dermatologist, who claimed the mark was a harmless liver spot. However, several months later, the young mother paid the price for her doctor’s costly mistake, and now, she’s warning others after she was left with a hole in her face.
When Bethany Greenway was pregnant with her second child in 2014, she noticed an odd spot appear above her left eye. She assumed the mark was caused by hormonal changes during her pregnancy when a dermatologist dismissed it as an ordinary liver spot. However, eighteen months later, her whole life was flipped upside down when her doctor’s misdiagnosis came back to bite her, and she was left with no other option than to have a hole in her face.
Come to find out, over the course of the eighteen-months, the dark spot had progressively grown into an achy mole. Of course, she went back to another dermatologist and was soon horrified as a biopsy came back showing that she had desmoplastic melanoma – an aggressive, rare form of skin cancer, according to Daily Mail.
Bethany immediately underwent surgery to remove the cancerous skin cells, but surgeons quickly discovered that it had spread to the bone and her lymph node, forcing her to undergo a grueling skin graft to cover the affected area. As a result of the procedure, she was left with a hole in her face for quite some time which has since left an unsightly scar.
“I wasn’t surprised by the diagnosis because my mother had melanoma at my age,” she admits. “I live in Texas where you have to put on sunscreen every day, I try to be careful, but I also have fair skin and I am ginger. When I burn I turn into a lobster, and I don’t know a summer where I’ve not burned once.” She continued, “I have been disfigured by this destructive cancer. I lost the muscle on half my forehead and my left eyebrow almost completely, save for like two tiny stray hairs. It’s really rare – very destructive, usually only occurs with only men in their seventies. It’s very rare for a younger female to get this.”
After immunotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation, she is now proudly celebrating the fact that she has successfully beat melanoma. In an effort to spread awareness, she is now sharing her story online, along with several photographs that have documented her difficult journey.
“My reason for doing this is to prevent anyone from ever being in my shoes,” she admits. “If seeing my pictures and reading about what I’ve been and am still going through makes one person put on sunscreen or go to the dermatologist and get checked then I’ve done my job. All my struggle isn’t for nothing because me sharing my story made one person take better care of themselves.”
In order to determine whether or not you should go see a dermatologist for a mark on the skin, there is a common checklist known as the ABCDE’s of detecting melanoma, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and enlargement, elevation, or evolving. Following this checklist, you should be able to detect melanoma early enough to receive treatment before it’s too late.
Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so avoiding overexposure to the sun is a must. If you will be in the sun for an extended period of time, protect your skin from the harmful rays, using sun hats, umbrellas, shirts, and, of course, sunscreen.
Although everyone has marks on their skin, it’s better to be safe than sorry. There have been many reports on skin cancer at this point to deter people from tanning and to learn to take the proper precautions when in the sun. Unfortunately, many people continue to ignore these suggestions and put their lives at risk. Hopefully, after seeing what can happen as a result of trying to obtain sun-kissed skin, the threat of disfigurement or death will now deter even the most avid sunbathers.