Women who tan, beware

By Elizabeth Temple - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Women aged 15 to 39 are the highest growing age group diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. Andie Spell was only 17 when doctor's had to cut out a cancerous mole from her leg.

"I was pretty darn scared," said Spell.

She started tanning in middle school, but even after the surgery she kept it up.

"I was still tan I would just cover it up," she explained, "but then I had two more pop up!"

Christie Barey caught her skin cancer while taking a bath.

"I noticed I had these little red spots that when I'd get in the bath tub they'd just light up like they were on fire red," she said.

She says does not want to do under the knife again if she can avoid it.

"They can take half your nose if they need to get rid of the cancer," said Barey.

And she is right, in fact, Dr. James P. Garahan, an oncologist, says cutting is the main way to get rid of skin cancer.

"It can develop under your finger nails and toe nails and more unaccessible areas and those can be dangerous because people don't know they have them," said Garahan.

Christie and Andie both completely stopped tanning.

"I wear sunscreen everyday," says Spell, "Even when I'm staying at home I wear it anyway."

And Christie is glad it will keep the wrinkles at bay.

"You don't think about what your neck is going to look like...or your hands," she explained.

Now a new drug is being tested to help people live longer who have late stage melanoma. While it being tested, Dr. Garahan says catching the skin cancer early is always the best treatment.

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