Early detection the key to beating Melanoma

(Josh Benser/WCIV)

By CJ Jacksoncjackson@abcnews4.comCHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types, yet it's preventable. One in fifty Americans will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime, which frustrates doctors because there are ways to protect yourself. "The earlier you intervene for melanoma absolutely you can improve the patient's survival and quality of life." Dr. Ramsay camp of MUSC said.

The majority of skin cancer is caused by excessive exposure to UV rays which include natural sunlight and tanning beds.

Melanoma is considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Sunburn triggers mutations that lead skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. Melanoma often resembles moles. In some cases the Melanoma can develop from moles.

The good news is skin cancer can almost always be cured if found early and treated right away.

After years of using tanning beds and enjoying the sunshine, Deana Nash of Charleston found a mole on her back and waited almost too long to get it checked out. She now knows that early detection is crucial.

"Of course I was scared. I thought how could that happen, it's just a small mole and they tell me there's no cure if you're stage 4 and they're telling me I'm stage 3-b." Nash said.

She now limits her time in the sun and uses sunscreen every single day. So far, she is still cancer free.

Doctors say everyone should visit a dermatologist at least once a year. Click here for a link to free skin cancer screenings in our area.