• Mon. Jun 5th, 2023

20-year-old’s melanoma battle leads to Stony Brook skin cancer screenings


May 26, 2023

Mollie Biggane was a healthy, active 20-year-old who played soccer and tennis though developing up in Garden City. She had no concept the uncommon mole behind her leg would turn out to be a deadly type of skin cancer recognized as melanoma.

By the time she was diagnosed, the cancer had progressed. Six months of therapies and surgeries had been not capable to quit it.

Due to the fact her death in 2000, Mollie’s family members has focused on bringing awareness to skin cancer in the hopes of sparing a further family members from the grief they went by way of.

Their most current efforts with the nonprofit Mollie’s Fund is a new initiative that will help screen all sufferers that enter Stony Brook University Hospital for skin cancer.


  • The family members of Mollie Biggane, a 20-year-old Garden City lady who died from melanoma in 2000, has spent much more than two decades educating folks about the dangers of skin cancer with the nonprofit Mollie’s Fund.
  • The nonprofit’s most current initiative is a system to screen all sufferers getting into Stony Brook University Hospital for skin cancer.
  • Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States. Early detection can lead to thriving remedy of the illness.

Incidences of skin cancer have reached “epidemic proportions,” mentioned Victoria Siegel, a registered nurse who sits on the healthcare advisory board of Mollie’s Fund.

Siegel, a professor of nursing at Molloy University, has helped create the screening protocols that will now be employed at Stony Brook and has been implemented at other Lengthy Island hospitals.

“Nurses are so involved in teaching folks about healthier behaviors, such as correct nutrition and security for youngsters,” mentioned Siegel. “This is a opportunity to teach them about sun secure behaviors, checking their skin and going to a medical doctor if they believe something’s incorrect with their skin.”

Years of exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, tanning beds or sunlamps can lead to skin cancer, according to the Centers for Illness Manage and Prevention. Estimates quoted by the American Academy of Dermatology show about 9,500 folks in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every single day.

“Skin cancer accounts for much more cancer than all the cancers combined,” mentioned Mollie’s mother, Maggie Biggane. “Anyone who has skin can get it and to a big extent, it really is preventable.”

Melanoma, the most critical type of skin cancer, can spread to the lymph nodes and internal organs. It is very treatable when detected early, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Young folks by no means believe it really is going to come about to them,” mentioned Maggie Biggane, who designed the nonprofit with Mollie’s father, Jack, and their youngsters, Cara, Julie and Jack

Screenings could lead to referrals

Biggane mentioned awareness of skin cancer has vastly enhanced due to the fact Mollie initially noticed the uncommon mole on the back of her leg.

“It had all the hallmarks (of skin cancer),” Biggane mentioned. “It was bleeding. Now we know that is a warning sign.”

With her reddish-blond hair and fair skin, Mollie wasn’t a sun-worshipper, her mom mentioned. But the active young lady was captain of her tennis group and played travel soccer.

“Did we use sunscreen? Yes. Had been we vigilant about it? In all probability not,” mentioned Biggane. “We had an umbrella but that does not evaluate to the SPF clothes parents are placing on their children currently.”

Mollie’s Fund operates on educational applications, public service announcements and other efforts to remind folks be mindful of sun exposure and generally put on sunscreen.

The hospital initiative is a “organic extension” of the screenings that nurses do for all new sufferers, mentioned Carolyn Santora, chief nursing officer at Stony Brook University Hospital.

“Currently when sufferers are admitted to the hospital, nurses do a complete skin assessment,” mentioned Santora.

“We are searching for stress ulcers, bruises, rashes and other skin situations. A natural extension of that skin assessment is to observe for moles and speak to the sufferers about their history, irrespective of whether or not they use sunscreen, how substantially sun exposure they have had more than time, and irrespective of whether or not they use sunscreen. Danger of skin cancer increases with the quantity of unprotected sun exposure more than time.”

Santora mentioned nurses will also use the chance to clarify to sufferers the significance of defending themselves from the sun’s rays.

If the nurses see an uncommon mole or skin lesion or if the patient relates a concern, they can be referred to a dermatologist for additional examination and feasible remedy.

Siegel mentioned folks must be mindful of the sun but not really feel like they can not go outdoors.

“Be clever about it,” she mentioned. “Cover your skin with clothes. Put on a wide 4 inch brim hat, put on sunscreen and by no means go tanning.”

Lisa joined Newsday as a employees writer in 2019. She previously worked at amNewYork, the New York Each day News and the Asbury Park Press covering politics, government and basic assignment.

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