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Melanoma survivor urges others to check suspicious moles

Posted at 3:27 AM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 14:18:33-04

Sara Threadgill, a China Spring native and former KXXV anchor and reporter from 2005-2010, got the scare of her life in 2014 when she was having her first son. Her mom noticed Threadgill had a spot on the bottom of her foot and suggested she get it checked out.

“The doctor took it off, tested it, and it came back severely dysplastic—which means that’s the level just before it turns into skin cancer.  of my foot, and it’s not a little cut—they take a good chunk of skin out of your foot and sew it back together,” Threadgill said.

Another Central Texan, Deanna Starling of Waco, was diagnosed with Melanoma in 2011.

"The word cancer is scary in itself. And when you get a diagnosis of getting cancer, your brain automatically goes to the worst possible outcome imaginable," Starling said. 

Threadgill had another scare this past spring, only this time the spot was in the middle of her back.

"The pathologist, said it was so close to being Melanoma it was almost there, so the pathologist recommended taking out a larger chunk than they otherwise would do. So, I am so thankful I went back in because had I wanted until my next year appointment I probably would have Melanoma," Threadgill said.

Both Threadgill and Starling have three things in common. First, they both love spending time in the sun. Second, they're both dark pigmented, and third, they both have a family history of skin cancer.

Threadgill's latest check-up came up okay, and Starling has been cancer-free for seven years. She'll be considered in the clear after ten years.

Both women spotted suspicious moles and got them treated early. Waco board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rusty Rowe said spotting suspicious moles can be as easy as the "ABCs".

“I educate all of my patients about the “ABCs”. If a mole is asymmetric—so, if both sides don’t look normal like a nice, round mole, that’s a concern, so that’s the A, asymmetry.  B is borders if it’s an irregularly shaped border then we have a concern.  If it has colors—C is colors – multiple colors inside of a mole that’s bad. That needs to be looked at, so you may have a nice, tan mole that just starts to develop black spots inside of it, red spots, those are a concern. D is diameter. Diameter is 6 cm or the size of a pencil eraser is the easiest to think of, so if the mole is enlarging that’s another concern, and then the last one, E is evolving, so if you’ve had a mole and it’s just always looked the same and then all of a sudden it looks different, that’s a concern.  So, the ABCDE is an easy way to think about it," Dr. Rowe said.

He adds Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, which kills around 9,000 people per year. He stresses anybody can get it, that affects 1-in-100,000 African-Americans, as well as 4-in-100,000 Hispanics.

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