• By Laurel Kelly

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Fighting a rare cancer and using his voice to help others

November 24, 2019
Sharing Mayo Clinic patient Nick Saleum

Nick Saleum felt a painless lump in his left forearm. One doctor misdiagnosed the lump as a ganglion cyst or lipoma, but Nick noticed the lump growing and went to see another doctor. A biopsy revealed a rare, cancerous tumor: epithelioid sarcoma.


"Scanxiety" is how Nick Saleum, a 29-year-old Eau Claire, Wisconsin, resident describes waiting for his cancer diagnosis.

"You've got the scan on Friday, and then you're waiting the weekend until Monday comes along," Nick says. "And, yeah, it was pretty nerve-wracking."

Nick landed in that anxious scenario in 2016, when he was 26. Busy working, spending time with his girlfriend, and exploring a newfound passion for photography and videography, Nick's health wasn't in the forefront of his mind. Then one day, he felt a painless lump in his left forearm.

When he had it evaluated, a doctor told Nick that the lump was either a ganglion cyst or a lipoma — both noncancerous growths. But Nick noticed the lump growing and went to see another doctor who recommended a biopsy. The results revealed a very different diagnosis. The lump was a cancerous tumor called an epithelioid sarcoma — a rare, slow-growing type of soft tissue cancer. Nick's tumor already had progressed to stage 3.

Read the rest of the story.

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This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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