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

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

Considering the fact that her death in 2000, Mollie’s family members has focused on bringing awareness to skin cancer in the hopes of sparing yet another family members from the grief they went by means of.

Their most recent 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 extra than two decades educating men and women about the dangers of skin cancer with the nonprofit Mollie’s Fund.
  • The nonprofit’s most recent initiative is a system to screen all sufferers getting into Stony Brook University Hospital for skin cancer.
  • Skin cancer is the most popular kind of cancer in the United States. Early detection can lead to thriving therapy of the illness.

Incidences of skin cancer have reached “epidemic proportions,” mentioned Victoria Siegel, a registered nurse who sits on the health-related 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 men and women about healthier behaviors, such as right nutrition and security for kids,” mentioned Siegel. “This is a possibility to teach them about sun protected behaviors, checking their skin and going to a medical doctor if they feel 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 Handle and Prevention. Estimates quoted by the American Academy of Dermatology show about 9,500 men and women in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer just about every day.

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

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

“Young men and women by no means feel it really is going to occur to them,” mentioned Maggie Biggane, who designed the nonprofit with Mollie’s father, Jack, and their kids, Cara, Julie and Jack

Screenings could lead to referrals

Biggane mentioned awareness of skin cancer has vastly enhanced considering that 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. Have been we vigilant about it? In all probability not,” mentioned Biggane. “We had an umbrella but that does not examine to the SPF clothes parents are placing on their little ones these days.”

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

The hospital initiative is a “all-natural 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 seeking for stress ulcers, bruises, rashes and other skin circumstances. 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 a great deal 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 therapy.

Siegel mentioned men and women should really be mindful of the sun but not really feel like they cannot 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 L. Colangelo

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

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