ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Skin cancer is one of those diseases many are aware of ways to prevent it, but often don't think about until facing it head-on.
WMAR-2 News anchor Jamie Costello shared his recent encounter with skin cancer.
The Style Lounge hair salon in Annapolis is the last place most would think a story about skin cancer would take place, but Costello’s skin cancer discovery began at the salon.
It’s where Costello gets his hair cut every few weeks but recently his stylist Lisa Drinks gave him more than a great haircut.
“I see my clients like once a month so I really get to know their skin,” Drinks said.
She saw something on Jamie's temple which just didn't look right.
“It just looked very unusual, and was not healing and inflamed like a purplish color,” Drinks said.
“It’s easy to say Lisa Drinks save my life because I talked to Dr. Harrington and I said doctor...and I ask him to lead me down a dark road if I didn’t get this taken care of,” Costello said.
Before he saw a doctor, Costello figured he had a wound which just needed time to heal. He recalled how he fell on a baseball field and thought his injury would go away.
“It didn’t heal, it kept bleeding, kept picking it, and this has been quite some time, until I came in here,” Costello said.
Drinks kept a watchful eye on his wound as well.
“It never healed, it kept bleeding, came back in three weeks later for another haircut, she said ‘did you get it checked?” No. Get it checked,” Costello said.
Costello, like most men, still needed a little coaxing to go see a doctor.
“I actually saw his wife walking and we talked about it and I’m pretty sure that’s what did it,” Drinks said.
“And my wife made the call that day, and last week I got cut. And it was skin cancer, and it’s 15 stitches deep, and 15 stitches on top. And without Lisa, I don’t know,” Costello said.
What Costello knows now is it could have been worse
“He said it would’ve taken out my eye. Would have led to blindness. Would have creeped into my brain, and it could’ve possibly been a dead end,” Costello said.
Costello had a basal cell carcinoma or BCC.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, BCC is the most common form of skin cancer.
More than 3.5 million Americans are diagnosed with BCC each year.
Meanwhile malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer that not only tends to spread quickly to other parts of the body, but it also may be fatal if not treated early.
While Costello goes to the salon for Drinks to take a little off the top, doctors did the same. although unlike a fresh hair cut, most viewers might not have even noticed.
“Because I was on TV, he didn’t want the scar to go this way. He wanted to stretch it like a football. So, I’m stitched up under here like a football stitch. It’s going this way, and half of it is under the hairline over there. So, he hid that. That’s more of Lisa’s problem now, cutting the hair over the over the scar,” Costello said.
Being a doctor might not be part of Drinks’ job description as a hair stylist but it's obvious, she cares about her clients.
“I just say what I see. Let them know what I see. And, I hope they get it checked,” Drinks said.
“I’m so glad he caught it in time,” Drinks added.
Costello hopes his positive approach to facing skin cancer head on will encourage and inspire other men to do the same, and not hesitate to see a doctor.
“It’s almost like taking your car into a garage. You’re going to find something. So, you go see a doctor, they’re going to find something. But darn it, if they find something, then you can get treated and get on the road again,” Costello said.