Jul 25, 2009 - 9:43 pm
My dad is currently fighting stage iv melanoma (his 3rd melanoma diagnosis). There's a strong familial occurrence for melanoma for my relatives under 40. All my life I've been educated about melanoma and seeing dermatologists regularly.
I just had two moles removed with pathology reports as "moderate atypia" and "severe atypia," and my dr had me come back to have 5 mm margins removed. This is the first time I've gotten such specific "staging" from pathology and had margins removed.
My dr explained severe atypia as "resembling melanoma" but "not cancer." Can anyone give me a little more practical information about this? Do moles go through a process of cellular change from mild to moderate to severe atypia and then progress to melanoma if untreated? Or is "severe atypia" a judgment call by a pathologist that could be interpreted by another pathologist as cancer?
I guess having severely atypical moles means I have a much greater chance of having melanoma. I just wonder if anyone here has personal or practical experience with these terms. I've been waiting my whole life for melanoma, and now I'm watching my dad die from it. Here I am with two fresh 2-inch long scars on my arm. I hate this.