Melanoma Cancer and the Susan Torres Story

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. Although melanoma accounts for only about 6% of all skin cancer cases, it causes most skin cancer-related deaths. The good news is that melanoma is often curable if it is detected and treated in its early stages. Melanoma usually starts out in the form of a mole. There is a rule that applys to telling the difference from melanoma and a regular mole. It is called the ABCD rule.

Asymmetry – Early melanomas are asymmetrical: a line through the middle would not create matching halves.
Border – The borders of early melanomas are often uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges.
Color – Varied shades of brown, tan, or black are often the first sign of melanoma.
Diameter – Early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles – generally to at least the size of a pencil eraser.

This brings me to the story of a woman who got National attention. Susan Torres was a twenty – six year old woman who died from melanoma. Susan discovered around the age of seventeen that she had melanoma. She begin treatment and the doctors told her they had gotten all of it out. Susan went on with her life as normal. She was a vaccine researcher and a graduate of Dallas University. Susan also married and had a son.

Susan Torres was hospitalized on May 7, 2005 at the Virgina Hospital center after collapsing at her home with her husband and child. Susan had been sick with what they thought was a cold or the flu, but little did they know it was her melanoma. Susan’s husband said he was having a conversation with her and then she just all of a sudden passed out. That’s when she was rushed to the hospital. Susan was diagnoised with stage four melanoma cancer. She was brain dead with no hope of recovery. To make things worse she was seventeen weeks pregnant. The doctors gave Susan no chance of survival, but her hsband and family kept fighting to keep her unborn child alive. Susan was put on machines to keep her functioning for the sake of the baby. If she could make it to July 11th, the baby would have a viable chance at life.

It was a tuff time for her family, both emotionally and finacially. It was costing over $7,000 a day to keep her in the ICU. So an organazation was setup to raise money to help the Torres Family. Donations poured in from all over the world. This story was heard nationally and I don’t think there was one dry eye when this story was told.

Susan Torres made it to the July 11 mark and she was doing so good that they decided to go a little further. The baby was healthy and the cancer had not spread to the baby. An ultrasound was done and they learned the baby was a girl. Jason Torres, Susan Torres’ husband, stayed by her side day and night. He quit his job to stay with her. He said on the Larry King show that he spent every night with her. Jason, his family, and Susan’s family were able to feel the baby kicking. They said she was a very active baby.

At 8:18am On August 2nd, 2005, Susan Anne Catherine Torres was delivered by caesarean section. The baby was doing good saying that she was premature. Susan Anne Catherine Torres weighed 1 pound 13 ounces and measures 13 �½ inches long at the time of her birth. She was placed in the neonatal unit to undergo the necessary treatment that she needed. This was a wonderful day for the Torres and Rollins family. Then again it was a sad day. It was time for them to say goodbye and let Susan go. Susan Torres passed away after the machines were turned off at her husbands request. Susan peacefully went on to a better place.

Susan Anne Catherine Torres has to remain in the hospital until her original due date, which is around December or January. She was born 13 weeks premature. As of August 23rd baby Susan was doing very well. It was reported that she was still in the neonatal unit and was weighing in at two pounds. She is no longer on the ventilators and is eating small amounts of formula.

For updates or to donate to this family please visit the Susan Torres website at http://www.susantorresfund.org
Melanoma is a very serious cancer. If you or someone you know has any of the ABCD rule, please get it checked out. There are four stages in this cancer and once it gets in the fourth stage you cannot be helped. To learn more on Melanoma cancer please visit http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/melanoma or http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/content/health/guides/melanoma.html

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