Army veteran encourages skin checks following melanoma diagnosis
Dermatologist aids fellow service-member in melanoma diagnosis and treatment.
During my 33 years in the U.S. Army, I learned the importance of examining my skin regularly because of the high exposure to UV rays and radiation during deployments.
I was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma after noticing a growth above my eyebrow. Initially I thought it was a pimple, but worried it was something more serious as it grew. A biopsy confirmed the growth was melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Immediately after my diagnosis, I reached out to a long-time friend and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Jerry Miller. We deployed together during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and have stayed in touch since retiring from the military.
Dr. Miller helped me understand my diagnosis and explained what I could expect for treatment options. We share a strong bond which helped me navigate such a serious, scary time. I’m now undergoing immunotherapy and radiation therapy. I hope my story encourages other veterans to pay close attention to changes in their skin.
A dermatologist's perspective
“Soldiers, sailors, and airmen often spend a lot of time in extreme heat and have increased exposure to the sun and hazardous chemicals. It's likely Vinny's diagnosis is related to exposures during his extensive military career. Veterans should prioritize monthly skin checks as a part of their health routine to spot skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable. If you notice a spot that is different from others, or that changes, itches, or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.”
─ Jerry Miller, MD, FAAD, Prevea Health
Patient & physician stories
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