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Skin Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The long holiday weekend isn't over yet and a lot of us have outdoor plans. But before you go, don't forget to pack the sunscreen or you could be sorry. Shauntel Tews discovered she had skin cancer eight months ago. She was just 21.

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The long holiday weekend isn't over yet and a lot of us have outdoor plans. But  before you go, don't forget to pack the sunscreen or you could be sorry.

Shauntel Tews discovered she had skin cancer eight months ago. She was just 21. 

"I had noticed a spot on my side that I had not noticed before and I went to my primary care doctor for my yearly physical and she referred me to a dermatologist and he removed it and a week later it came back positive for melanoma."

It's those harmful ultra-violet rays that after repeated exposure from the sun can result in cancer, which usually presents first on the skin. If left untreated, it can spread to the rest of the body and result in death. 

And the more fair your ski, the more you're at risk for skin cancer.

"I very fair-skinned," says Tews. "I've played softball my entire life, being outside too. I've had a lot of sun exposure, but the dermatologist said the tanning bed is what did it in."

If you have a spot on your skin that is changing color or size, if it has irregular borders, becomes painful, itchy or bleeds, or changes in any way, you should see a physician. 

Shauntel's treatment was minor surgery because it was discovered early.  Her focus is now on prevention. 

"Sunscreen. Anytime you are out, put it on. I was stubborn and not doing it, never thought any of this would happen to me. And now I have about 8 bottles of sunscreen, in my house, in my car, in my purse, everywhere."

I can't tell you how many times I've had people with sunburn come to the ER in extreme pain -- a situation that is entirely preventable. We all want to enjoy our summertime activities and we can, safely, by doing a few simple things: wear sun block, stay hydrated, wear a hat and sunglasses, and embrace the shade when you can.
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