Mother who went viral sharing battle with skin cancer dies at age 27

Mother-of-one, 27, dies of terminal melanoma after ignoring a suspicious mole for three years – weeks after going viral with warning to others about skin cancer

  • Kassidy Pierson from Minnesota died last Tuesday following a years-long battle with cancer
  • Her sister shared the news and revealed that Kassidy would often ‘just break down crying’ because of ‘how many people just loved her’ on TikTok
  • She had noticed a ‘suspicious’ mole on her thigh at age 18 but didn’t get it checked out until she was 21, when she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma
  • It progressed to stage four, and after being told it was terminal earlier this year she was put on hospice
  • She spent her remaining time with her son, Hunter, and her fiancé, Chris
  • Kassidy made it her mission to warn others about the dangers of skin cancer and encourage people to get checked 

A 27-year-old mother who went viral on TikTok for warning others about the danger of skin cancer — a danger she knew too well, having ignored a suspicious mole for three years that turned out to be melanoma — has died following her own battle with the disease.

Kassidy Pierson from Minnesota first spotted changes to a mole on her inner thigh when she was 18, but didn’t get it checked by a doctor until she was 21 — and by then it had evolved into stage 3 melanoma, meaning that the cancer had spread.

It progressed to stage 4 and she continued to fight it until earlier this year, when she learned that her cancer was terminal and was advised to go on hospice.

Late last week, Kassidy’s sister uploaded a video to her TikTok page, revealing that Kassidy has succumbed to the illness.

Kassidy Pierson, who publicly shared her battle with skin cancer, died last week 

Sharing the news: The 27-year-old’s sister told followers of her passing on TikTok


‘I wanted to also come on and thank you all so much for following and supporting, and I can’t tell you the amount of times that she would just break down crying because she couldn’t believe how many people just loved her from this platform,’ she said

There will be a slideshow video coming soon. Thank you for all your support. She was loved. And finally¿ get your skin checked.

Kassidy’s sister looked bereft as she addressed her 230,000 followers. 

‘I know I’m not the face you want to see,’ she began. ‘I am [Kassidy’s] older sister. And so I’m coming on here to let you guys know that she did pass away on Tuesday night.’

‘She was with her fiancé, she was not alone. She was not in pain,’ she added. 

‘But I wanted to also come on and thank you all so much for following and supporting, and I can’t tell you the amount of times that she would just break down crying because she couldn’t believe how many people just loved her from this platform. So just thank you so much, for all that you have done for her,’ she concluded.

She signed off with a warning like those her sister had shared, captioning the clip: ‘Get your skin checked.’

Kassidy had documented her battle with cancer on TikTok as she urged others to be vigilant in checking their skin for signs of cancer.

‘This is what my mole looked like,’ Kassidy said in one video, revealing a photo of the large, dark mole on the inside of her leg and explaining that she first began noticing ‘changes’ to it when she was 18. 

‘It was bigger than a pencil eraser, it itched, it was dry, it bled when it was itchy, it had all the symptoms,’ she continued. ‘It was discolored, it changed shapes.’

At the time, Kassidy was unaware that these were all symptoms of melanoma. She was also pregnant with her son and didn’t have health insurance, so she left the mole unchecked for several years before finally visiting a doctor at the age of 21.   

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Kassidy revealed that her doctors took a biopsy of the mole, and two weeks later, she received a diagnosis of stage 3 melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — which had already spread to her lymph nodes. 

‘After two weeks, the dermatologist called me on the phone and told me it was unfortunately skin cancer, and it was melanoma,’ she told the site.

‘I then asked him what that meant, as I did not know. He told me that there were a few different types of skin cancer. Melanoma was the deadly one, and I had it.’ 

Speaking out: Kassidy revealed that her doctors took a biopsy of the mole, and two weeks later, she received a diagnosis of stage 3 melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer


Concern: Earlier this year, doctors found seven new tumors on Kassidy’s brain, and told her that there is nothing left they can do for her,  advising her to go on end-of-life hospice care

Kassidy’s first oncologist did not initially pursue any treatment options, and one year later, it was discovered that her cancer had further metastasized throughout her entire body — including her brain — thereby upgrading her diagnosis to stage 4. 

In light of the devastating news, the mother-of-one decided to seek advice from a new doctor, who advised her to immediately begin an aggressive series of treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.  

‘It’s been a long journey,’ she said in a recent video. ‘I had a partial hip replacement, I had half of my right lung removed, I’ve had a bowel resection, I’ve done two rounds of chemotherapy, I have done… four or five rounds of different radiation types now. 

‘I’ve been on different immunotherapies, clinical trials, drugs. It’s been a very long journey that I have taken, a very, very long journey [with] multiple surgeries. The hip one was one of the hardest and the lung one. And those happened one right after the other.’ 

Despite the incredibly aggressive treatment plan, which took place over a six-and-a-half year period, Kassidy received the devastating news earlier this year that her cancer was terminal, after doctors discovered that it had spread to her brain, where she now has ‘seven new tumors’.  

Updates: The mother-of-one used her TikTok account to encourage others to get their skin checked at least once a year, urging them not to ignore anything suspicious as she did 


Take note: She regularly shared images and videos of her own tumors so that people could see what they look like — and recognize if they are suffering from something similar

‘Six and a half years later, I’m still stage 4 and I’m now terminally ill and on hospice,’ Kassidy shared in the video revealing the image of her mole. ‘So please go get your skin checked.

‘Go and get your skin checked at least yearly. If you see something suspicious, go sooner.’

In July, Kassidy was told that she would be going on end-of-life hospice care, a heartbreaking moment that she documented in a tearful TikTok clip.   

‘I will do ten rounds of radiation for ten weeks and then I get put on hospice after that,’ she told her followers, while sobbing into the camera. 

‘Unfortunately, as the melanoma has spread throughout my whole body, it has entered my brain with at least seven new tumors, if not more,’ she added to Buzzfeed. 

‘Meaning that none of my treatments are working anymore, and unfortunately at this point they have nothing medically they can do. There are no treatments available for me.’  

She added: ‘I am not scared to die, I am just sad. It is a very sad thing, for the moments that I will not be there for.’ 


Step by step: Before going on hospice and stopping her treatments, Kassidy underwent numerous aggressive procedures, including chemo, radiation, clinical trials, and surgeries 


Taking time: The mother-of-one is spent the time she had left in the presence of her loved ones — particularly her son, Hunter, and her fiancé, Chris

The mother-of-one became determined to spend the time she had left in the presence of her loved ones — particularly her son, Hunter, and her fiancé, Chris — and she revealed to Buzzfeed that she was in the process of planning her own funeral, describing the experience as ‘fun.’

She also prepared letters and gifts to leave to her son, explaining that she wanted him to have things that will help him to ‘know who she is’ and ‘give him a reminder on those special moments that his mommy is always with him.’

Speaking about her decision to share her cancer story on social media, Kassidy said that she wanted to raise as much awareness about the deadly risks of melanoma while she still can — adding that she believed terminal illness should be discussed ‘more openly.’

‘We all die some day,’ she said. ‘I have an opportunity to share my death, which many don’t get a chance to do. I am blessed I get to say goodbye to my family, and I want to showcase all the ins and outs. The good and the bad of it all. This isn’t pretty and this isn’t easy. But there are good moments in the bad.’ 

The most deadly form of skin cancer: What is melanoma and how can you prevent it?

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It happens after the DNA in skin cells is damaged (typically due to harmful UV rays) and then not repaired so it triggers mutations that can form malignant tumors. 

Around 106,110 new cases occur every year in the US, with 7,180 Americans expected to die from the disease in 2021 alone, according to Cancer.org. 

Causes

  • Sun exposure: UV and UVB rays from the sun and tanning beds are harmful to the skin
  • Moles: The more moles you have, the greater the risk for getting melanoma 
  • Skin type: Fairer skin has a higher risk for getting melanoma
  • Hair color: Red heads are more at risk than others
  • Personal history: If you’ve had melanoma once, then you are more likely to get it again
  • Family history: If previous relatives have been diagnosed, then that increases your risk

Treatment 

  • Removal of the melanoma:

This can be done by removing the entire section of the tumor or by the surgeon removing the skin layer by layer. When a surgeon removes it layer by layer, this helps them figure out exactly where the cancer stops so they don’t have to remove more skin than is necessary. 

  • Skin grafting: 

The patient can decide to use a skin graft if the surgery has left behind discoloration or an indent. 

  • Immunotherapy, radiation treatment or chemotherapy: 

This is needed if the cancer reaches stage III or IV. That means that the cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body. 

Prevention

  • Use sunscreen and do not burn
  • Avoid tanning outside and in beds 
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside
  • Keep newborns out of the sun
  • Examine your skin every month
  • See your physician every year for a skin exam 

 Source: Skin Cancer Foundation and American Cancer Society

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