I have been reading about a lot of people who had early stage melanoma, like myself, that were given the "all clear" and then years later had some issue with their health that alerted them something was wrong. They went to the doctor only to find out that the melanoma was back and had spread to vital organs. I find myself thinking that I need some better follow up than just "watching and waiting"! I don't understand why anyone diagnosed with melanoma would not get a baseline scan to at least see what if anything, is going on in there! I think that doctors need to change their thinking with this beast, because it doesn't play fair! It is a sneaky little cancer. My 10 year survival rate is like 95% or something like that. What about the other percent? What if I fall into that 5%? Melanoma doesn't always show itself in a mole. So checking my moles for changes and seeing my dermatologist every 3 months for the first year, doesn't seem like enough! I am finding a lot of cases of recurrence in people just like me. It was still there. It doesn't return in a mole.
I have decided I am going to ask my primary care physician for a Pet scan. I am going to insist on it. I think being as proactive as I can will increase my survival rate. I don't want to risk dying because the medical community thinks it is not necessary to scan people unless they have lymph node involvement or if they are above a Stage 2. I don't know if my insurance will pay for it, but I am going to find out. I work in a doctor's office and I know that they do what they know. They tend to stick with things they learned long ago and very rarely do they try new things. I really like my doctor. I think she is very thorough. I hope she agrees with me on this. I will keep you posted on this as I find out. I believe that you should always follow your gut. I have not felt that this is over ever since it started. My surgeon told me that he got it all, but how can he be sure? I will not stop until I am sure! Melanoma is not going to take me down without a fight!!