Her Pimple Won’t Go Away for Awhile. Then Doctor Reveals That the Bump Is a Growing Cancer
When Jodie Dominy first noticed a lump on her chin, she assumed it was just a pimple. Though the bump did not seem as inflamed as most pimples, it was just a tiny, hard dot on her chin that seemed like it was simply a blocked pore like all other pimples. Jodie did not typically get pimples, but since she was a new mother, it seemed reasonable to think it was just due to stress. Since pimples typically heal on their own, Jodie did not bother with going to a doctor at first.
However, the pimple did not go away, so Jodie eventually decided to visit her doctor. The doctor told her that the bump was not a pimple, and it was instead a benign fatty cyst. Most cysts are typically just a small pocket beneath the skin that is filled with fluids or solids. Some may go away on their own, but others remain in the same location for years. Jodie elected not to have the supposedly benign cyst removed for cosmetic reasons, because it would require an unpleasant and unnecessary surgery.
Over the next two years, the lump gradually grew until it was the size of a coin, which can occasionally happen with cysts. Once she started feeling pain coming from the bump though, Jodie knew that something was wrong. After finally getting a biopsy of the lump, Jodie was diagnosed with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP). This is a very rare, slow growing cancer that can eventually become aggressive, and it cannot be killed with chemotherapy or radiation. Therefore, Jodie knew that she would have to get it surgically removed.
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Ultimately, Jodie underwent a surgery that removed the lump and a one inch wide area all around the cancerous area. Once she recovers, Jodie will need reconstruction surgery to create a new jawline for her, and she will need speech therapy to learn how to talk again with such a large portion of her jawline missing now. Fortunately, she is now cancer free, and Jodie says “The next 12 to 18 months will see me continue on my journey but I am strong and know that at the end of this I will be ok.”
Jodie’s case is particularly rare, because DFSP only happens in about 5 people per million and does not typically start on the face. This form of cancer that grows in the dermis, which is a deep layer of the skin, typically starts out like a small, firm lump or patch of skin. Eventually, a reddish, purplish, or brownish hue may appear around the tumor, and it slowly grows over the course of a couple years. Since it grows so slowly and there may be no symptoms that something is wrong, many people do not get a diagnosis until the DFSP has become very large.
Since surgery is the only way to treat DFSP, it is important to get it diagnosed as soon as possible, before it gets as large as Jodie’s lump did. Though it normally does not spread, it can grow deeply into the surrounding muscle and fat, making it impossible to remove. If it is caught while still small, the surgery will be far less invasive. The main warning signs of DFSP are a growth, lump, depressed area, or hardened patch of skin that does not leave after two weeks, and it is more likely to occur on a scar that is caused by a burn or a surgery. If you notice these symptoms, it is important to see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.