To New Parents of a Child With a Nevus: Keeping Vigil
By Patricia Mcadams, Staff Writer, Nevus Outreach
The birth of our baby is among the most sacred and joyous occasions that any of us who are parents will ever experience. But when our little one arrives unexpectedly with a stunning congenital melanocytic nevus (CMN), some of our euphoria may be swallowed up by unspeakable sadness and fear — and so many questions.
What is this giant birthmark?
Did we do something to cause this?
Can it be removed?
How will it affect the life and well being of our sweet baby?
Although I may be teaching these patients and families something about CMN, they in return continuously teach me about life, love, courage, resilience — and everything that makes us human! It is an honor and a privilege for me to be involved in their lives.“Do not panic,” says dermatologist Ashfaq Marghoob, MD, who likes to reassure parents. “Most children with nevi do fine.
“I like parents to be aware, too, that a nevus is a chance event,” says Marghoob. “It has nothing to do with anything they did, or did not do, before or during pregnancy.”
Marghoob serves as director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s regional skin cancer clinic in Hauppage, Long Island. He currently cares for dozens of patients with large CMN and has consulted on hundreds more. He also cares for hundreds of patients with smaller nevi.
The most important thing for parents to know is that the management for their child should be individualized. This personalized treatment plan is based upon considerations such as the size of a nevus, the number of satellite nevi, physical findings and status, neurological status, cosmetic concerns, and so on. In other words, the management approach chosen for one person may not be ideal for another. In addition, management of your anxiety needs tender care, too, he tells moms and dads.
According to Marghoob, persons with isolated small and medium CMN (less than 8 inches) are at low risk for complications. And even though persons with isolated large CMN may be at higher risk, rarely will complications actually arise. The risk for complications tends to increase, however, in individuals with both a large CMN and many satellite nevi.