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Early Diagnosis Key To Fighting Skin Cancer

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Elizabeth Dinh
Elizabeth joined CBS 11 News from Seattle's KOMO-TV in December 2...
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GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) - Hugh Jackman, former President George W. Bush, Brooke Shields — all have survived skin cancer scares. It is something that is easy to spot, yet is often overlooked. And it can impact someone of any age.

At 24 years old, Danielle Taylor has already overcome skin cancer three times. “It was a little surprising just because, growing up as a kid, wearing sunscreen was always ingrained in my head,” Taylor recalled. “Always put sunscreen on, keep reapplying sunscreen every couple of hours.”

Taylor has fair skin and has always been extra cautious when out in the sun. But, according to Dr. Carolyn Kim of DermOne, people of all different skin tones are at risk for skin cancer. “I think that sometimes people just don’t know,” stated Dr. Kim. “I think the general public just doesn’t understand that skin cancer is so prevalent. It’s the number one cancer in the U.S.”

Dr. Kim added that more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.

An annual check-up is recommended. And, in between those 12 months, people should do a monthly self-check, looking for things like moles and seeing if they have changed in color, size or shape. Dr. Kim explained, “Look at your face, behind your ears, your neck, your chest. Get your spouse or a kid or somebody to look at your back.”

Making a habit out of recognizing skin changes can be the first step in catching skin cancer. You can even measure moles, if necessary. Dr. Kim stated, “If it’s one millimeter one day and doubles to two millimeters, three millimeters, you don’t want to wait until it gets to be too huge.”

The key is to look at and know your skin. “I think it’s a general misconception that to have cancer is going to hurt you, and it will, but you don’t always feel it,” Dr. Kim said. “But you can see it.”

This is how Taylor has been so successful in battling skin cancer. She noticed that something was unusual about a part of her skin, and got it treated before it it was too late. “It could have possibly turned into something more serious,” Taylor said, “which would’ve been even worse to deal with and harder to treat.”

You can get a free skin check through March 31 at DermOne offices across the Metroplex, just by saying Healthy Skin DFW. Click here for a list of locations.

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