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Survivor of a Deadly Spider Melanoma

I had a history of skin cancer – basically single cell carcinoma and I had the spots burned off with liquid nitrogen. I had check ups scheduled every six months by a Dr. David Hoffman a very well known and respected dermatologist. I was born and raised in Colorado. I did go mountain climbing and walked almost everywhere I needed to go. This may have been the foundation of my melanoma but it is also possible that it lay hidden for a period of time. Colorado is known for the number of skin cancer patients we have here. It is the altitude and the fact that we are closer to the sun that causes skin cancer (or at least so I have been told).

One day I noticed a little brown mole on my left cheek. Many years had passed and I was a wife and mother, my days were so full that I paid less attention to my own body and more to my children. That was a full time job and besides I din’t notice anything except this little pale mole.

I don’t know how long I had it but it was getting darker and I decided to go back to Dr. Hoffman. I remember how he looked when he came back into the room where I was waiting. He took me to another room where he examined my face more thoroughly, consulted with some others in his clinic and then told me that they could “see” a spider melanoma. It was shaped like a spider and had ‘legs’ that extended down my cheek on one side and across my ace and into my sinuses. He told me that it was serious and I had to have surgery to remove it.

It was the scariest time of my life but I survived. I do believe that it was not only the skill of my doctor but the prayers of my family and church members that brought me through this trauma.

I was left with a very ugly scar for a few years. This is why I have created an exfoliating powder made from sea sponges. It is the main product of my skin care line.
The use of it has faded the scar until it can’t be seen anymore.

– Francine Cinquanta

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Nina M moderator
    1 year ago

    @francinecinquanta, it seems your response of more than a month ago was buried until now! Not sure what happened, but I’m so sorry we didn’t find it until now! We are really hoping for a way to share pictures someday. It would make such a difference. Your career sounds incredible. It must have been very rewarding. Thank you for being here and sharing with us! – Nina, Team

  • francinecinquanta author
    1 year ago

    To April Pulliam – Yes – I have had a history of Basal Cell carcinoma all through my life. I had check ups with my doctor every few months and usually had the spots “burned off”, with liquid nitrogen . I have not heard the phrase “spider melanoma” since I had mine removed. I am sure that there are people who have suffered from it. I was fortunate because the reason for the name is that the basic cell has ‘legs’ like a spider and they spread out under the surface of the skin. One went down under my chin, just missing the facial nerve and another went up into my sinuses. If there was a place here where I could show you the picture, I would. Also a picture of how I look today, at age 82. You can barely see the scar.

  • April Pulliam moderator
    1 year ago

    Francine…yours is an amazing story. I admire your strength. Skin cancer is a battle that never seems to end. It’s good to hear that you are doing so well today! We are glad you are a part of our community!

  • francinecinquanta author
    1 year ago

    April – I am glad to be a part of your community. I have spent the last 28 years doing my best to help people keep their skin free of dead cells, scars and surface matter that can become malignant.

    I developed an exfoliating powder that is used as a mask when water is added. I was awarded a National Leadership Award from Congressman Tom Delay for my research into removing scars and acne, ‘dead’ skin, etc. I was especially recognized because my products are natural, organic and completely safe – in fact so safe that it can be eaten. I went through Stanford University Patent process for protection. They said it could be safely used around the eyes, nose and mouth.

    I have sold my products since 1994 but retired last year. . I no longer want to spend hours in my lab filling orders. I think I am a little burned out on that.

    I have made a difference in the lives of many and they have sent me many testimonials.
    Now I want to give classes in skin care and cancer prevention. Also, I can teach my students how to make their own skin care products. It will be fun and I like the ‘hands on’ sharing my original formulas.

    Do you know if there is a way I can download my pictures here?

    It is nice to be able to “chat” with you.


  • April Pulliam moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Francine,
    I have to say I have never heard of a spider melanoma. You are certainly fortunate to have had the support of your family and the skill of your doctors. I have read, on many occasions, that higher altitudes and areas with much snow are more apt to produce patients with skin cancers. Being a mother and a teacher, I completely understand how you lost yourself when your children were young. It’s a very easy thing to do when you have little ones needing you 24/7. What has your follow-up care been like? I am sure there are many others like myself who are curious about the rate of recurrence with a spider melanoma. Have you also experienced basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma?

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