Danielle Romanetti | May 8, 2019
Danielle Romanetti is a successful small business owner, knitting aficionado and mom to an energetic second grader. After some friends mentioned a new mole on her forehead, she made an appointment with a dermatologist and found out she had basil cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, she’s sharing her story to help others recognize signs of skin cancer early—and how to protect their skin to prevent cancer.
A few friends had mentioned a mole I had on my forehead but every time I kept waiving it off, thinking it had been there for years and was just normal. Then it started to bleed.
For a couple of weeks, the mole would open up and bleed and wouldn’t stop. I went back and looked at my wedding photos and other pictures of me over the years, and as I was looking at the pictures, I realized that the mole hadn’t been there for years—it appeared in the last year and it had grown in size. I knew something wasn’t right.
I made an appointment with a dermatologist who said almost immediately that it was basal cell carcinoma. She took a small biopsy and sent it off to the lab where that diagnosis was confirmed.
When the doctor told me it was cancer, I wasn’t sure what the diagnosis really meant. She was quick to let me know that while I had cancer, it was completely curable and the type I had was very common, which made me a feel a bit better. I was glad that I came in, because even though my case was treatable, if skin cancer is left untreated it could lead to disfigurement or death. But ultimately, what I was really concerned about was how the mole was going to be removed, since it was in the middle of my forehead!
I had the mole removed successfully, and the Mohs surgeon that I was referred to was phenomenal. He made the entire experience much less frightening than it could have been.
Through this process, I’ve learned to pay more attention to changes in my body. It was a real eye opener for me. I was so busy that I failed to notice that a mole had appeared in the middle of my face and that it wasn’t there previously.
My advice? Take care of your skin every single day. Wear protective clothing, slap on some sunscreen and don’t be afraid to hang in the shade! The skin is our largest organ and so incredibly important. Make sure you see a dermatologist yearly and take note of changes in spots and moles—look through old photos to help see how much they have changed, if you have to. It could save your life.