• Cierra's Avatar

    Cierra posted an update

    I was just honored with the Cherokee Nation's Distinguished Spirit of Life award. It's for a survivor who makes a significant contribution in cancer prevention, education, or care within my tribal nation. Many of my fellow Natives don't realize our significant risks of skin cancer. We have the 2nd highest incidence but we have the highest death rates. Because most of us don't seek treatment sooner we tend to be diagnosed too late. It's my mission to spread the word as it is so easy to prevent!

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  • Cierra's Avatar

    Cierra posted an update

    I always thought everyone wore sunscreen and swam at night. I noticed when I was about age 7 that I was different. My friends could wear sundresses while I wore long sleeves. They went to the lake during the day and I swam at night. That's when I learned that I had to protect my skin because of my melanoma at age 4.

    3 Comments
    • arashkya's Avatar
      arashkya

      Your parents realized that you were in danger of melanoma at 4?! That's terrible! But don't feel too bad. I never worried. In fact, my family used to say that I didn't get enough sun. I was the one wearing all the long sleeves in summer and avoiding too much sun. It's ironic that my melanoma developed and had NOTHING to do with sun exposure.

      about 7 years ago
    • Cierra's Avatar
      Cierra

      Hi! Actually I was born with a huge birthmark on my head right behind my left ear. When I was 4, I had a tick bite near the mark and I scratched it. My school nurse noticed that my birthmark looked like melanoma. So, she called my mom and they took me to my doctor who thought it was melanoma. 7 days later, I had surgery to remove the mark and two lymph nodes. Sure enough, it was stage 2A melanoma. Crazy! I'm so thankful my school nurse recognized it because my parents were used to seeing it. I have a weird syndrome called Inherited Dysplastic Nevus Syndrome. Which means my freckles and moles stand a good chance of turning into melanoma if I don't take precautions. So, I swim at night, stay covered up in yucky heat, and sunscreen everything in sight!

      about 7 years ago
    • arashkya's Avatar
      arashkya

      That's a scary thought. I've always had a LOT of moles and freckles, so when one acted up one day I knew it wasn't good. I do the same though, check and monitor them daily (to the best of my ability) on top of checking for sore spots and lumps under the skin. If I feel any pain, anywhere... it's straight to the doctor.

      about 7 years ago