Ellen's story

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I am fair skinned and since age 20, have always worn sunscreen. However, before that, we did not know about sunscreen and everyone tanned. My family went to Florida every year in July to visit relatives and I would never tan — just burn. I work in a hospital and am saddened by all the patients lost at young ages because of carelessness or tanning.

In 2005, I went to the dermatologist to ask about rosacea, which I have had in my eyes for years. She discovered melanoma on my leg, which I had not noticed because I have many moles and freckles (and it was January so I had been wearing long pants). I had surgery within a week and had 19 stitches. The cancer had not penetrated. I now go for skin checks every three to six months and have had many pre-cancerous spots removed, but no more melanoma.  I stay covered and treat all my clothes with Sun-Guard that I wear outside and always wear a hat. I'm thankful it was caught early. My three adult children all have had spots removed, as well as my sister and brother. I work in a hospital and am saddened by all the patients lost at a young age because of carelessness or tanning.

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