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Melanoma May brings awareness to the deadliest form of skin cancer

May 16, 2024

By Terri Russell

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Like many adults of her generation Janet Storie headed to the beach with her family. No sunscreen, no protective clothing.

“We just played in the ocean and on the beach all day,” says Storie. “And did get burned probably every time.” Janet would eventually pay the price.

In her first all-over skin check 7 years ago the doctor noticed a lesion between her third and fourth toe.

It looked suspicious.

“Turned out to be a melanoma,” says Janet. “She referred me to a plastic surgeon because of where it was located. “It was a 5-year course of chest x-rays every year and blood work. They just have to really keep an eye to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread into your whole body.”

It’s estimated in 2024 more than 200,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma.

Dermatologist Dr. Cindy Lamerson says patients of all ages with melanoma come see her.

But the bulk of patients are older who loved the sun in their younger years.

“We are seeing the population get older that was born in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, where a lot of sun protection wasn’t done,” says Dr. Lamerson, a Board-Certified Dermatologist with Nevada Center for Dermatology. “So now they are getting Melanoma.”

That isn’t to say younger people aren’t getting the disease, they are. Dr. Lamerson says it is due in part to tanning beds.

And people of color too can get this disease.

It can appear in a nail, or on the bottom of feet.

“You can’t just automatically say that if you are darker skinned you aren’t susceptible to Melanoma,” says Dr. Lamerson. “So, something that grows underneath the nail or underneath the toenail, or in the groin area needs to be looked at.”

Dr. Lamerson recommends wearing sunscreen when outside, along with a hat and protective clothing.

It’s something Janet Storie says she does religiously.

She’s still paying for her childhood days in the sun. A basal-cell cancer was removed from her ear. And just two months ago a squamous cell cancer was taken off her shoulder.

View the article on KOLO News 8

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