If you could prevent just one person from getting melanoma, would you?

We would. Every single time.

We want you to learn from our experience so you can protect yourself and those you love.

Most people are aware of skin cancer and have heard about the preventative measures one should take to reduce the risk of contracting it (wearing sunscreen, hats, protective clothing; avoiding sun exposure during peak hours of the day, getting an annual skin check at your dermatologist’s office, etc.)

We absolutely agree that all of those preventative measures are critical.

Our message, however, is one of urgency. Check your skin now. Check it every month. You’re the one who is most familiar with your skin and you will notice any changes before anyone else does.

Melanoma is a deadly, rapidly progressive cancer that arises in the skin’s pigment-producing cells. Even with aggressive treatment, Krista died less than two years after her initial melanoma diagnosis. Shockingly, Krista’s experience was not unique. The more we research, the more we learn about many other melanoma patients who have had similar tragic timelines.

In our experience, waiting a few months to have a suspicious spot removed by a doctor had devastating and deadly consequences. Krista put off having her suspicious mole removed because the timing was inconvenient and the anticipated stitches and bandage would have hampered her experiences on a long-awaited vacation.

When Krista finally went to her dermatologist, roughly 4 months had passed since she had first noticed the spot. The dermatologist removed the lesion and conducted a biopsy. It was then that Krista received the devastating diagnosis: malignant melanoma.

If you suspect you may have a melanoma, get your skin checked immediately, preferably by a dermatologist who specializes in skin cancer and melanoma. Do not wait. Time is of the essence.

Fortunately, if caught at the beginning stage, melanoma is easy to treat and typically is quite curable. Once melanoma has broken through the epidermis, however, it gets increasingly difficult to treat and cure. What could have been a simple procedure in a doctor’s office can become a death sentence if diagnosis and treatment are delayed, even for a short time.

Doctors told Krista that they had taken wide margins when the melanoma was removed. They said she had no further evidence of the disease. We celebrated. We were relieved. We dodged a bullet, we thought.

But, less than 12 months later, Krista began developing severe headaches and she had a seizure. She was rushed to the emergency room. Testing showed a golf-ball sized tumor was in her brain. The melanoma on her shoulder had metastasized to her brain.

After undergoing brain surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and multiple other treatments including alternative medicine, Krista fought a tough and valiant battle but she ultimately succumbed to the cancer that showed up as that little spot on her shoulder. In all, less than two years had passed from Krista’s initial melanoma diagnosis to her tragic and untimely death.

Please learn from our experience. Protect yourself. Inspect your skin every month for changes. If you see something suspicious, go see your dermatologist. Immediately. Do not wait.

Melanoma Kills.

Prevention is the best option.