Patient Stories

Brea’s story — “At 37 weeks pregnant, I was told I had melanoma.”

When Brea spotted a darkened mole, she assumed it was caused by an increase in melanin due to pregnancy hormones. It wasn’t.
MoleMap Team
April 5, 2024
5 minutes
Young female wearing a sunhat and holding a toddler at a park.
Brea with her son Austin

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It started with a dark spot

“I noticed a longstanding mole on my left knee had become significantly darker. I was 37 weeks pregnant at the time and assumed the darkening was due to an increase in melanin from pregnancy. 

“I wasn’t too concerned but went to get it checked anyway.” 

Image of a suspicious mole on the patient’s knee.
Brea noticed that a mole to one side of her knee had become darker.

From pregnancy bliss to skin cancer biopsy

“I made an appointment at a Sydney skin cancer clinic. They performed a full skin examination and took a biopsy of the darkened mole. I was confident the biopsy would come back as benign. There is no history of melanoma in my family and, despite having a lot of moles, no suspicions were raised in previous skin checks. 

“I was in the final trimester of my pregnancy, so I was deep in pregnancy bliss and focused on becoming a mum. What happened next changed everything.” 

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Melanoma diagnosis during pregnancy

“Within a day or two I received a phone call from the skin cancer clinic requesting an urgent appointment. It was recommended that I bring someone with me. I went in the following day and was told I had melanoma. 

“The diagnosis took my breath away. I just wasn’t expecting it. 

“I was referred to a professor at the Melanoma Institute who explained the histopathology report and next steps. The radial edges of the puncture biopsy were too close to the tumour, so I needed surgery for a wider excision. The professor recommended we delay the procedure until after the birth of my son. 

“During those few weeks there was a lot of anticipation. Feelings of anxiousness and nervousness consumed me and distracted me from what should be a happy time. 

“My son, Austin, was born at 42 weeks. The day after I got out of hospital with him, I went in for surgery to remove what was left of the melanoma. Thankfully, the result came back with clear margins and there was no need for further treatment.”

If you spot a new or changing mole, have it checked out promptly. If you have a skin cancer story you’d like to share to raise awareness and inspire oth­ers, please email us.

Image of the patient’s knee after surgery where the melanoma has been removed.
Post-surgery: The results were clear with no need for further treatment.

In the clear & determined to stay that way

“It was recommended that I get six-monthly skin checks for five years. My son has just turned six, but I still attend six-monthly checks for peace of mind. 

“My melanoma diagnosis has certainly changed my attitude towards the sun. I grew up in Queensland and spent my 20s outdoors and at the beach. Now, I avoid the sun at all costs. I get my required daily dose of Vitamin D, but I never go outdoors to ‘get sun’—it’s purely incidental. Even then, I wear a hat, sunscreen, and clothing to protect against the sun.

“I have also got to know my skin very well and get checked right away if I notice any changes.”

MoleMap Team

At MoleMap we check, detect and treat skin cancer. Find out how you can protect your skin at your nearest MoleMap skin cancer clinic.

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