Jessica Van’s Story

It took me a couple minutes to start writing my story mostly because it is so weird to say I had cancer. I accepted the fact five days after I was told I was diagnosed with skin cancer, but you never believe it will happen to you.


It was five days after my 24th birthday, and I went to the doctors to get a mole removed that was on my left side. I had debated getting this mole off, but work was busy, and I always had something more important to do. Nothing is more important than your own health, one of the many things I have learnt during this tough time. I stepped into the doctor’s office, and showed the doctor my mole. My mole was black, with uneven edges, and a light brown misshaped ring around it. The doctor said it would probably be nothing, but wanted to take it off right then and there just in case. It was a fast procedure, and I ended up with six stitches.


The doctor had told me to come back in ten days to get the stitches removed and for the results. I went home and not once did I even think twice about the mole. I got a call four days after the removal of my mole, to find out the results were in. I thought it was quite fast, but still wasn’t very worried.


I sat down with my doctor, and she said, “I am so sorry, but you have Melanoma Skin Cancer”. I sat there in disbelief…my doctor gave me a hug, and said that they will do what they can to save my life. I researched skin cancer when I got home only to find out that Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer. I started to think of all the different things that could happen to me, and that this could be the beginning of a very hard time. I laid in my bed for a couple days, and then decided that cancer would not take my life, and that positive thinking is the way to overcome anything. I closed my eyes and actually pictured the good cells eating the bad cells. Weirdly enough, it gave me power and control.


I went in a week later for my second incision, where they removed more skin around where my mole was to make sure I did not have cancer in the remaining area. I anticipated a scary long procedure, but it was quick and painless. The healing process was uncomfortable, but it all healed quite fast! I felt like I had been waiting forever just to find out if I would be okay. I was in love with tanning when I was younger I went 22 days in a row before my grade 12 grad. I tanned a lot, and never wore sunscreen outside either. I was a sun worshiper, and I risked my life just to feel good. I went back to see my doctor again after my second incision, and she told me they had got it all and I was cancer free! I have never felt more free in my life, and I really know what it means to live life to the fullest. I just want people to start taking skin cancer seriously, and understand that tanning beds are serious. Don’t think that it won’t be you, because no one is invincible. I never thought I would have gone through this at the age of 24, but I did. Stop tanning in tanning beds, wear sunscreen 30 SPF or higher, and get your moles checked every year by a dermatologist. You only have one life, so take care of yourself, and your health.


“I am happy to be working with the Save Your Skin foundation as it gives me the opportunity to tell my story and hopefully make a difference in someone else’s life.”

Making awareness and education available is crucial. Since 2006, the Foundation has worked to raise awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers focusing on education, prevention and the need for improved patient care.
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