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Meeting Melanoma Head On

May 5, 2014, 6:17 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Meeting Melanoma Head On
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

As the weather warms up, you'll likely be tempted to spend more time outside.  Health officials want to remind you to remember your sunscreen.

The number of people diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, is on the rise.

The Goodrich family of Crooks is close-knit. That's why when 24-year-old Amy was diagnosed with melanoma, her entire family was shocked.

"What if I don't get to meet my nieces and nephews? It's scary," Amy said.

Amy had the cancerous mole removed. Doctors also took out ten lymph nodes to make sure the cancer hadn't spread.

"I knew what melanoma was, but I needed it not to be cancer," Amy said.

Her dermatologist, Dr. Jacob Kusmak, recommended that Amy's entire family also get their skin checked.

"I had never gone to a dermatologist before. I didn't really think it was necessary," Amy's mother, Carol Goodrich, said.

But Carol soon found out it wasn't a waste of time. Another one of her daughters was diagnosed with skin cancer. So was she.

"I just thought it was an age spot. I really did," Carol said.

The spot on Carol's face, which had appeared over the last couple years, was melanoma.

"Melanoma is very serious. It's actually the most deadly skin cancer there is. In our country, a patient dies from melanoma every hour," Sanford Dermatologist Dr. Jacob Kusmak said.

While the Goodrich family did not spend a lot of time in tanning beds, Kusmak says indoor tanning can lead to melanoma.

"One single session of going to the tanning bed increases your risk for melanoma at least 25 percent," Kusmak said.

Kusmak also recommends wearing a SPF of 30 or higher. If you're in the sun, you should reapply it every two hours.

"After I got my diagnosis, I bought new makeup with SPF in it. Even those little steps, like buying something with SPF, can help," Amy said.

The Goodrich family is now cancer-free, but they get checkups every three months. Amy says she's actually thankful for her diagnosis.

"Just cause they probably would have never gotten checked," Amy said.

The Crooks family now has a whole new outlook on skin cancer.

"Anything you think might be a little odd, just get it checked," Carol said.

If you would like to spread awareness about how you've been impacted by skin cancer, head over to our Facebook page.

You can also talk about the steps you can take to prevent melanoma.

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