Esthetician Shares Photo of Client's Mole to Warn Against Melanoma
One day you’re giving someone a spray tan, and the next day you’re begging that someone to go see a dermatologist. That’s what happened to 39-year-old esthetician Stacey Waidley, whose watchful eye helped a client discover she had skin cancer.
Waidley, a mother of three and owner of Glowbar tanning salon in Brea, California, became an esthetician three years ago when she decided to start a new career. She had always been interested in skin and skin safety, so she decided to work in a salon.
“I specialize in spray tanning so people can avoid the harmful rays of the sun and tanning beds,” she told The Mighty. “It’s the safe way to get color and feel amazing without the cancer risks.”
Last week Waidely posted a photo on Instagram showing something that appears on many of us: moles. But this particular mole, which she started seeing on her client/friend over three years ago, was a sign of melanoma.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and it kills an estimated 10,130 people in the U.S. each year.
“In school I was trained to look at people’s skin prior to any facial or body treatment,” she says. “If we see something we are to let our client know and advise them to see a dermatologist. I have seen and caught many clients’ skin cancers. Most of the time it’s basil cell carcinoma, which is important to catch, but not as deadly as melanoma.”
That training helped Waidly notice a blackish oddly shaped mole on her friend Michell’s arm. She was alarmed at the mole’s growth spurt, and was pretty sure it was melanoma, so she begged Michelle to see a dermatologist.
***MELANOMA ALERT** SO, I have a friend/client that I have been seeing now since I started spray tanning 3 years ago. I noticed this spot on her arm, which started as a DARK PINPOINT SIZE SPOT, and have been watching it for a while now.I have urged her to go to the dermatologist for almost 2 years now.I am NOT a doctor, but I am an esthetician/skin specialist and I had a feeling this was not ok.In the last 6 months it has grown and changed so much that the last time she came to GLOWBAR I seriously begged her to drop everything and go see the derm.I am SO glad she did and so is she and her family.This is MELANOMA PEOPLE!!When checking ANY mole on your body there are the ABCDE’s please check yourself! A=asymmetry,if you were to cut the mole in half and the two sides don’t match,that’s a warning. B=BORDERS, check the borders of the mole. If it has goofy borders, not good! C=COLOR,check the color, this one to me is a little tricky, because there are some moles that are black pigmented which are totally normal!! But any dark black color should raise an eyebrow and if it has other characteristics such as bad borders,Asymmetry etc, go to the doc ASAP! Also, not all melanoma is black! some are light! Don’t think it has to be black to be dangerous..D=DIAMETER melanoma is normally at least 6mm, which is about the size of a pencil eraser, but CAN be smaller. Last E=EVOLVING, watch any moles you may have, if at any time they change color, shape, size, at all,go to the doctor! Better to be safe than sorry. Melanoma is a cancer that sits on our body and we can see with our eyes! We have the opportunity to get to the doctor immediately. Please check your skin..another little melanoma tip…it doesn’t come where you have “had to much sun” The actual “mole” or cancerous lesion can show up anywhere…for example, your tongue, the whites of your eyes, under your finger nails etc. please if you find ANYTHING new, show a doc!!!! Sorry for the long post, I’m just so passionate about bringing awareness to this. When I got the text from my friend last week thanking me, it made it all so worth it!! #melanomaawareness #melanoma #checkyourskin #checkyourself #glowbar_
After months of asking her to get it checked out, Michelle finally made an appointment, but they couldn’t get her in until the end of December.
“I begged her to contact the doctor and request a sooner appointment,” Waidley says. “I even took photos for her and helped her send the photos to the doctor. They ended up moving her appointment to a date in November.”
Thanks to Waidley’s help, Michelle was able to see a dermatologist, and she even texted Waidley at the appointment to confirm it was melanoma.
“The doctor told her she should thank me because I helped save her life,” she says. “Pretty cool. This is just what I do for a job!”
The good news is that it was only stage a melanoma, so doctors were able to cut out the cancerous area. There are also no concerns about Michelle’s lymph nodes being affected because they caught it in time.
In addition to sharing the photo, Waidley also includes valuable information about the ABCDEs of checking moles for warning signs of melanoma. Here’s a brief summary of signs of malignant (cancerous) moles:
A – Asymmetry – Mole is not symmetrical if cut in half.
B – Borders – Mole has uneven borders or edges.
C – Color – Mole is more than one shade of brown, tan or black.
D – Diameter – Mole is at least the length of a pencil eraser.
E – Evolving – Mole changes size, color or shape over time.
The main reason Waidley shared the post is to raise awareness for the dangers of skin cancer. She encourages her clients to say something if they see something, especially because melanoma can be seen with our own eyes.
“I want everyone to check their skin. Melanoma doesn’t just start the size of an eraser tip. It starts super small and it grows. Please please if you see anything, go to the doctor!”
This isn’t the first time a salon employee has helped someone recognize melanoma. This past September, a manicurist in the U.K. made a similar discovery on a client’s nail and posted the photo to Facebook.
Header image courtesy of Instagram