SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — One in five of us will develop skin cancer by the time we turn 70.
According to the American Cancer Society, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. Jimmy Buffett, the legendary ‘Margaritaville’ singer, passed away peacefully on September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs. Buffet died of skin cancer – Merkel Cell Carcinoma to be exact. Dr. Steve Powell says it looks like a red or purplish bump and usually shows up in areas exposed to sun like the head, neck and arms.
“It’s probably two to three thousand cases per year, so it’s a very rare cancer in the grand scale of things. It’s actually a very aggressive subtype of cancer that grows very rapidly and spreads very rapidly,” said Powell.
Jameson Mcgrann had a strange-looking mole on the back of his arm. Luckily he got it checked out because it turned out to be a fast-growing kind of skin cancer.
“I heard the word cancer and I heard nothing else in that conversation,” said McGrann.
McGrann is the Business Manager at Dakota Dermatology. He says he’s lucky they caught it when they did because he had a form of melanoma.
“I just thought they will take me back a do a quick little thing, but as I got to understand a little bit more about what is different about melanoma versus basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma is this is the one that is a little deeper in your skin that can spread to your lymph nodes and get into the other areas of your body, and that’s why melanoma is that much more dangerous that the average skin cancer,” said McGrann.
Dr. Sarah Sarbacker treats hundreds of patients a year and says most people have good outcomes, however, there are certain things all of us can look for.
“Things that that bleed, things that don’t heal, things that grow fast, you know try to be a little bit careful with the sun. You know if you are white you are not supposed to be super tan, we love the sun, the sun is good for us right, we like June way better than we like January but just be a little bit careful,” said Sarbacker.
According to Sarbacker, early detection is the key to beating skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, when detected early, the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.