MCALLEN - Blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, while these are very attractive qualities, they are also qualities that are vulnerable to the sun. And it's damage from the sun that can land you in an oncology center, better known as a cancer hospital.
"I had a variety of doctors, ya know when you see the doc you just say, well can you look at this. And multiple times I had various doctors in various areas of expertise all say they thought it looked fine, we kept watching and watching and watching, and that was the mistake, we should have just had it biopsies then instead of watching," said Colette Walsh, Melanoma Patient.
A small spot on the top of her neck turned out to be melanoma cancer. And in South Texas, because of our closer proximity to the sun, everyone needs to be careful.
"We are constantly exposed to UV light which is a major risk factor for the development of skin cancer, particularly melanoma is the one we are worried about the most," said Dr. Billie Marek, Medical Oncologist.
In Texas, there will be about 5,000 new cases of melanoma this year and 600 deaths as a result. And doctors said this is a cancer that is entirely preventable.
"It is important for people here to realize that melanoma and skin cancers occur usually later in life as a general rule, but it comes from the damage we get when we are teenagers," said Marek.
The best defense against Melanoma is to be checked by a dermatologist. But you should also be giving yourself exams about once every month.
To learn what to look for: http://www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/understanding-skin-cancer/how-do-i-c...