Her Facial Birthmark Was Itchy for a While…Now Look What Happened to Her Face
We all remember that iconic scene from Kindergarten Cop where Arnold Schwarzenegger exclaims, “It’s not a tumor”, to a room full of children. What would you do if it was a tumor?
That very thing happened recently to an expectant mother, Sam Davies. While she wasn’t suffering from a headache as Schwarzenegger was in the movie, she was experiencing a strange reaction from her birthmark. With Sam’s first four pregnancies, her birthmark grew and became itchy. In fact she had begun to use it as a tell-tale sign that she was expecting. She decided to think nothing of it, just a simple physical reaction of her pregnancies on her birthmark. During her fifth pregnancy, which happened to be her first boy, Sam’s birthmark grew out of control.
One day the itchy, inflamed birthmark grew to the point of explosion, splitting her forehead down the middle. As it turns out, Sam’s birthmark was actually the tip of three hemangiomas tumors. While this type of tumor is benign there were cancerous cells hiding underneath. There was nothing that could be done for Sam, other than to keep her comfortable until the baby was born and the cancerous cells could be removed. Sam is now living a healthy, cancer free life with her husband and five children.
What is Hemangioma?
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Hemangioma tumors are non-cancerous growths that are caused by abnormal blood vessels. They are relatively harmless and are removed as they grow larger. These types of tumors can also be found on the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain and colon but are not known to cause any damage.
Symptoms of Hemangioma
Because these tumors are fairly harmless unless they grow overly large, most people who have them rarely suffer from symptoms. Some symptoms that may be experienced can include:
• Loss of Appetite
• Unexplained Weight Loss
Other Signs to Look For
While it’s unlikely that people with hemangioma tumors will also have cancerous cells underneath like Sam Davies did, it is common for birthmarks to actually be signs of carcinoma or melanoma. Not everyone with a birthmark will develop skin cancer as a result but it doesn’t hurt to know what to look for. Some signs that you need to have your birthmark or mole checked include:
• Increasing size
• Scab like appearance
• Changing shape
• Edges are no longer smooth
• Changing Color
There are things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing skin cancers. While nothing is completely avoidable, especially with cancer of any type, it doesn’t hurt to take preventative measures.
• Check in with a dermatologist at least once a year.
• Stay out of the sun, or at least use sunscreen that is 30 SPF or higher
• Reapply sunscreen frequently, every two hours should do
• Wear a hat and sunglasses
• Don’t use a tanning bed
Skin cancer is the world’s most prevalent cancer, however much of it is treatable and non-lethal if caught early enough. Not everyone will have the same dramatic experience that Sam Davies did, however, any skin condition that begins to change, whether hemangiomas tumors or birthmarks should be checked out immediately. Early detection is the key to preventing dangerous cancers from growing out of control.