Melanoma survivor shares story: 'It can happen to you'

A local man is sharing his story with Melanoma to stress that it's something that can happen to anyone if the right preventative measures aren't taken.

Posted: May 7, 2018 9:14 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – “Melanoma Monday” is a day within Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 91,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with Melanoma this year. Kris Lake was one of those people.

Lake works on the sales team at KIMT News 3. Back in March, he went in for a scheduled physical.

“They found two spots,” Lake said. “One on my head and one on my side that they were not comfortable with.”

A couple weeks later, the biopsy results came back.

“The one on top of my head was melanoma,” Lake said.

Doctors went to work right away and scheduled surgery to remove the cancer. The gouge left on the top of Lake’s head is something he never though would happen to him.

“Being a middle-aged man who enjoys golfing, I did not wear a hat very often,” Lake said, “and put sunscreen everywhere but the top of my head. Which is why I think I had a good chance of it developing because I didn't prevent it in any way.”

Lake’s experience is making him change parts of his lifestyle when he’s going to be outside under the sun, like wearing a hat and always putting on sunscreen.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70. It’s a story that can be used as a reminder for others.

As a mom, Amanda Giffey always tries to keep her kids safe from harmful rays.

“My son is 14 months old,” Giffey said. “He is wearing sunscreen because we knew we were going to be out for a walk today. He has a hat on, the shade over the stroller to protect him as much as I can.”

Even so, Giffey said it can be easy to forget.

“You think 'oh, I'll just quick be running errands or I'll quick go somewhere, I don't need to. I'm not going to be outside that long,'” Giffey said, “but it doesn't take long until pink or a burn can start and that's not gonna be helpful at all.”

Lake wants people to know that it can happen to anyone if the right preventative measures aren’t taken.

“It can happen to you,” Lake said. “Just don't think it's going to happen to somebody else and do what you can to prevent it.”

Medical professionals say when it comes to cancer treatment, prevention and early detection is key. That’s why they’re urging people to self-examine skin and go to a doctor if you find any sign of skin cancer, including new moles or lesions that don’t heal.

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