Stranger Helps Spot Woman’s Skin Cancer PKG

A woman shares her remarkable story about how a chance encounter with a stranger led to her being diagnosed with skin cancer.

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CLEVELAND – Between caring for her two beautiful little girls and being a special education teacher, Melissa Albin admits she hasn’t always made her health a priority.

“Mom and teacher came before me,” said Melissa.

But, that all changed last year after a chance encounter with a stranger at the park.

“It was a warm day, I was wearing a tank top. And I was watching them over on the playground and I had my arms up on the stroller and I noticed a woman off to the side who kept looking at me,” she recalled.

Melissa wasn’t sure what to think, but the woman finally came over to her.

“She approached me and she said I am really sorry if this is odd, but I want to let you know I am a dermatologist and I have been looking at that mole on your arm and it’s really alarming to me,” she said.

Melissa had been previously warned by her general practitioner to get the mole checked out but never followed up. However, she didn’t hesitate to book an appointment this time around at Cleveland Clinic.

“I thought it looked very suspicious, and so I did a biopsy of it and that biopsy turned out to be melanoma,” said Philip Bernard, MD, who specializes in family medicine for Cleveland Clinic.

Melissa said she was in shock.

“I was very surprised because I just chalked it up to it’s just another mole,” she said.

Dr. Bernard said she’s lucky she came in when she did, otherwise her story could’ve turned out much differently.

“The depth of the mole was less than a millimeter, so if she had waited until it got to a millimeter, her survival from that would have been significantly less,” he explained.

Melissa went on to have the mole surgically removed and is doing well.

She said she is forever grateful to that stranger in the park and encourages others not to put off skin checks.

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