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Tina McDonnell - Patient Story

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"Fox Chase doctors are highly skilled in understanding early detection."

— Tina McDonnell

As a fair redhead, Tina McDonnell’s mother took every precaution to protect her from sun exposure from an early age. Through her teenage years, Tina was vigilant about wearing sunscreen and during her twenties and thirties maintained the same conservative philosophy with sun exposure. She saw her dermatologist each year and at age 35, she noticed something on her left cheek. The spot was pre-cancerous, and she had it removed.

Over the next 15 years, Tina continued to face additional skin cancer diagnoses, including growths on her nose, her cheek, and in 2014, on her ear. 

Tina is the director of operations at Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. Before joining Ronald McDonald, she spent several years as director of volunteer services at Fox Chase Cancer Center, so she knew where to turn for a serious diagnosis.

Tina made an appointment at Fox Chase to remove the growths from her nose and her ear using a technique called Mohs surgery. This surgery is a highly specialized treatment for skin cancer using microscopic examination of all tissues removed surgically, as well as detailed mapping techniques to allow a surgeon to track and remove all of the roots and extensions of the skin cancer. Mohs surgery is most effective in treating skin cancers with growth patterns that have a high risk of recurrence or are located in cosmetically sensitive areas, such as the face, nose, ears and eyelids.

“Fox Chase doctors are highly skilled in understanding early detection,” Tina says. “Having a unique understanding about skin cancer especially in the early stages is something not every cancer center and hospital can claim.”

Tina is grateful to the doctor who performed her surgery, and especially to Jill Anne Seely, RN MSN, CRNP, a nurse practitioner whom she said is capable, thorough, and well-trained.

“I tell people not to go to tanning salons, make prudent decisions about sun exposure, and make regular appointments with doctors or a dermatologist,” shares Tina, who cautions others to be cognizant of changes in moles, skin patches and dry patches on their skin. “Early detection is a life-saver.”

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