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I'm a redhead....and I have a very fair-skinned family.
For five years of my childhood, I lived in Hawaii and the Philippines. We would go to
the beach every single weekend. I remember more weekends when I was burnt than I wasn't.
So, I went for a standard skin check because I'm a redhead. And they did two biopsies,
one on a circle on my back, and one on a mole that I had on my cheek here.
And so, they called and they said it was melanoma. And, my reaction was fairly nonchalant.
My father had basal cell cancer removed several times. And so, this was just, you know, par
for the course. I was just expecting it, maybe, not this soon. And so she questioned that
I understood, really, what she was telling me.
There's three types of skin cancers; basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, they're
the highest incidents. Melanoma is a third type of skin cancer, however, it's the deadliest,
unfortunately, because it has the ability to spread into the blood and the lymphatic
vessels and then it can actually spread further into the lymph nodes and into other organs.
My dermatologist was telling me everything that they had to do. "We're going to refer
you to this surgeon," and I went down and saw Dr. Swetter in the Melanoma Clinic at
Stanford. She kind of did another skin check. And then, she said, "Okay, my recommendation
is to go to Dr. Aasi.
We did sort of a conservative excisional biopsy to determine exactly the depth of the melanoma
once we were able to study the rest of the lesion, and also then decide whether further
therapy was necessary for her and she did extremely well. We did what's called a narrow
margin excision and essentially determined that it was melanoma in situ.
One of the concerns for us as dermatologists is the increasing incidence of skin cancer,
particularly melanoma in young adults and adolescents, so people under the age of thirty,
and Kelly fits in that category perfectly.
She was a perfect patient where she pursued it, had it checked out by a physician, and
luckily, was found to be melanoma in its earliest phase possible.
The biggest thing you want to think about is sun protection. Whether it's a cloudy day
or sunny day, sunscreen, particularly those that are considered broad-spectrum sunscreen,
something with an SPF of 25 or higher used on a daily basis and then there's other things
that people can do to protect themselves from the sun such as wearing a broad brimmed hat,
sunglasses, wearing light weight clothing but that has better coverage.
The fact that I was diagnosed with melanoma, and then was really lucky in that it was sort
of taken care of within a month, essentially, really reminded me, how precious and valuable life is.
So, I'll be wearing 45 or 50 instead of, you know, 15 or 25 and now that I have had a melanoma
diagnosis, I'm going to go in every three months for the rest of my life.