Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, we had a different relationship with the sun. We didn’t think we looked good or “healthy” unless we had a tan. Ironic, isn’t it? I spent many hours in my teens and 20s laying out in the sun – burn, peel, repeat…until the tan took hold.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer but, thankfully, it is also one of the most treatable when it’s detected early. While survival rates are high, most skin cancer patients quickly that you’re not completely out of the woods once a skin cancer has been removed. Not only do your chances of recurrence increase, but preventative measures and changes to your daily routine are unavoidable. Just ask ABC News anchor Michelle Charlesworth.
Even after hearing that women who have ever been indoor tanning are six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 20s than those who have never done so, it’s hard to believe skin cancer can happen at such a young age. Most young indoor tanners probably don’t believe it can happen to them.
In the summer of 2006, Kevin noticed a mole on his shoulder that seemed to have changed colors, so he went to see a dermatologist. A biopsy determined that the mole was a malignant melanoma.
When Nicole Kinnunen started dating her husband-to-be, she spotted a large, strange-looking mole on his leg. He told her it was nothing. Eleven years after they married, that melanoma left their family without a husband and father.
Last Thanksgiving, The Skin Cancer Foundation staff shared what we were thankful for. This year, we asked our online community of skin cancer survivors to tell us what they’re grateful for this holiday season. Here are a few of their responses.
When the sun starts to set, the countdown begins. The children excitedly check an ultraviolet (UV) light meter, waiting for it to register zero.
Chelsea Dawson’s days are filled with the hectic joy of motherhood. After ending her workday at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Virginia, she heads to day care to pick up her toddler, Lee. Then it’s home for dinner with her husband, Bryan, and stepson, Gavin, before putting the kids to bed and catching her breath. Balancing work, home and family can be tough, but you won’t hear Chelsea complain.
She was a much-sought-after model, and her looks were her meal ticket. But when her clients asked her to “get a little color” for photo shoots, she never dreamed it would lead to skin cancer —and a disfiguring scar smack in the middle of, yes, her face.
Given the prevalence of skin cancer in the United States, it’s not surprising that so many celebrities have had the disease. In fact, one out of every five Americans is going to get skin cancer. In our very own “Just Like Us” feature, we share ten celebrities you may not realize have had the world’s most common cancer.