The last thing Summer Sanders expected to hear at a routine visit to her dermatologist was the word “melanoma.” Although the olive-skinned swimmer had grown up training in outdoor pools under the intense California sun, she had never consciously tried to get tan and never considered herself at risk for skin cancer. It just wasn’t on her radar, especially when making it into the Olympics took so much of her focus.
Melanoma took many things from Todd and Linda Nagel, but it never took away their hope. Throughout Todd’s five-year battle, they remained positive and embraced every moment together even more preciously.
Over the years, my Mom and I occasionally talked about her cancer, especially when I started working at The Skin Cancer Foundation. Ocular (meaning “of the eye”) melanoma is very different from cutaneous (“of the skin”) melanoma. It’s also rarer.
An Emmy Award winner, Jerry Penacoli has covered many of Extra’s high-profile and exclusive interviews, such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and President Obama. Through all the glitz and glam of the entertainment world, Jerry’s melanoma diagnosis was a shocking reality check.
Growing up in Philadelphia and Queens, New York, I wasn’t really an outdoorsy type of child. I spent a lot of time in the dance studio doing ballet, tap and jazz. I did go to Greece every summer, which is where my family is originally from, and I spent a lot of time in the sun on the beaches there. I have that Mediterranean olive skin, and I tanned well.
A recent encounter during a free screening on our Destination: Healthy Skin RV showed, once again, how imperative it is to check in with your skin regularly. It could very well save you time and money in the future, and may even save your life.
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.