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How to check for potential signs of melanoma

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jun 07, 2024

An athletic trainer, he was running, lifting weights, and at his prime. Colin J. Haller was just 25 years old when he was diagnosed with skin cancer.

"He had a mole that looked normal. Nothing outwardly wrong about it, normal color, regular size, not a weird border," said Sarah Kinling, Colin's sister.

Kinling says the mole was located on the back of his knee and when he would exercise, it would it and bleed.

"He was like 'ugh, this is annoying, let me get it looked at and removed,' and it was only in that testing that they found out it was cancerous," Kinling said.

She said it was already at stage three. Within two years, he was at stage four.

"He had to put his whole life on hold to go through treatment, and treatment was surgeries. He had a lot of lymph nodes removed," added Kinling.

Colin passed the following year at 28 years old.

"It was through the experience that I learned that it doesn't matter what your skin tone is, how old you are, how young you are, do you burn, do you tan, you're always susceptible to skin cancer," said Kinling.

Dr. Victor McGlaughlin with Patient First says a way to check for potential signs of melanoma is A-B-C-D. Is there any asymmetry, border, color and diameter of a mole or marking?

"Everyone has some moles and skin things, but if this one looks different from the other ones that you have, that's concerning," Dr. McGlaughlin said.

And if you draw any questions at all, it's best to play it safe.

A few safety measures can protect your skin and help prevent skin cancer.

"Stay out of sunlight at the peak hours of ten to four, wear sunscreen, SPF 30 at least, reapply it frequently and cover your exposed skin to the maximum extent that you can," said Dr. McGlaughlin

He recommends getting tested once a year, something Kinling says she does and is easy.

"Your whole body section by section. They look at your skin and they're looking at any abnormalities and they ask you questions. 'Is there anything that's bothering you? Have you noticed any changes?' Sometimes I've been in and out in five minutes, other times it been 30 minutes," said Kinling.