Melanoma and Pregnancy: A Deadly Combo

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Every 57 minutes, someone dies of melanoma. It's the deadliest skin cancer and it's on the rise. (KFSN)

Every 57 minutes, someone dies of melanoma. It's the deadliest skin cancer and it's on the rise. Now, researchers are linking melanoma and pregnancy. Here are more details on what moms-to-be need to know.

Amy Lauderdale loves being a mom, but motherhood also brought a health scare she wasn't expecting. When Amy was pregnant with her youngest, she noticed a spot on her toe looked darker than usual.

Amy told Ivanhoe that the spot "Looked like a freckle, like it was not that big. It was flat. It was pretty much the same color as everything on my body except one half was slightly darker."

About a year after her son was born, Amy asked her dermatologist to take a look during a routine exam.

"She was like oh probably nothing, but let's biopsy it and sure enough it came back that it was melanoma," Amy detailed.

Cleveland Clinic's plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Gastman said Amy's case isn't unusual. His recent study found pregnant women with melanoma are more likely to have worse outcomes and that risk continues up to a year later.

Dr. Gastman told Ivanhoe "It appears that there's some special period of perhaps hormonal or immunologic or both changes that occur even after the pregnancy."

Women diagnosed with melanoma during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth were about seven times more likely to have their cancer spread, nine times more likely to have their cancer return, and five times more likely to die.

"In the future, the hope is to risk stratify these women before they get pregnant, so that we can identify them so they can have a safe pregnancy," Dr. Gastman explained.

Amy had surgery to remove the lesion. Her cancer was found at an early stage and her prognosis is good!

"I am so, so lucky that I caught it early," said Amy.

Amy wants other moms to know about the risk and get their skin checked. It just might save a life!
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