Every year in the U.S., millions of people learn the truth about what it means to say, “This is skin cancer.” We’re sharing just a few of their stories.
Every survivor has a story. And The Skin Cancer Foundation’s team is here to listen. Over the years, countless people have shared, powerfully and poignantly, what it’s like to live with and beyond skin cancer. Their goal is simple: To sound a clear warning about the dangers of the disease and give hope to the newly diagnosed.
It doesn’t matter who you are. Actor. Athlete. Businessperson. Beauty queen. Young or old, if you have skin, you can get skin cancer.
“Please get skin checks often, please don’t think it won’t happen to you and, above all, please wear sunscreen.” –Hugh Jackman, actor
“I’ve lost track of how many spots exactly I’ve had taken off, and it’s a small victory when I go to the dermatologist and I don’t have one biopsied.” – Sean McDermott, head coach of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills
“You never think it will happen to you. Realize you are not invincible.” – Joshua Paschal, Detroit Lions 2022 second round draft pick
“Too many people think that skin cancer is ‘the good kind of cancer.’ What they don’t realize is that a skin cancer diagnosis changes you. The emotional, physical and monetary costs can be high, especially if the cancer has been ignored and allowed to grow.” – Jeff Rossen, TV personality
Skin Cancer Is… Serious
“My biggest challenge as a stage IV melanoma survivor is the recurrence, but also trying to stay out of the sun, trying to keep my children from wanting to be tan, keeping up with my doctor appointments and scans and, most of all, reminding myself that I’m alive!” Kim, Facebook follower of The Skin Cancer Foundation
“I’ve been battling skin cancer for 30 years. It’s a lot of being on edge, trying to deal with the disease and putting up with people who still don’t think it’s ‘real cancer.’” – Lisa, Facebook follower of The Skin Cancer Foundation
“I lost my husband in 2021 after he lived with metastatic melanoma for three years. While to me skin cancer means grief, pain and fearing the unknown, it also means courage, grace and LIVING whatever time we have. Thank you for doing the work you do!” – Michael, Facebook follower of The Skin Cancer Foundation
Skin Cancer Is… Preventable
“Skin cancer is one of the cancers we can prevent through knowledge. No tan is worth the risks. I’m someone who always got color without getting sunburn and it still got me.” – James Doherty, actor, Instagram follower, and skin cancer warrior
“The sun is not your friend. Check your skin and protect it from the sun. Get yourself examined professionally once a year. It could make the difference between life and death.” – Ron Licciardi, retired NYPD detective, YouTube influencer and skin cancer warrior
“If there’s anything you can do to prevent skin cancer, you should just do it.” – Chrissy Carbone, melanoma warrior
Skin Cancer Is… Curable When Found and Treated Early
“Had my first skin biopsy done in November 2018 at age 15. Two of three biopsies came back precancerous. Since then, I’m committed to raising awareness about skin cancers in young people. You’re never too young to wear sunscreen and see a dermatologist.” – Kaia, Instagram follower of The Skin Cancer Foundation
“Skin cancer took my dad away from me within two months because he didn’t go get checked in time before it spread throughout his body. I now get checked proudly every six months and am a huge advocate for skin cancer screenings.” – Whitney, Facebook follower of The Skin Cancer Foundation
“I noticed a spot on my leg that concerned me; it was stage II melanoma. I’m now cancer free and I’ve spent every day since that diagnosis telling anyone who will listen to get their skin checked!” – Trinity Pearson, Mrs. Tennessee International 2021
Having surgery for a skin cancer on your face can be stressful, but most wounds heal nicely. Think of your scar as a badge of courage and healing. – Photo booth image submitted by a social media follower of The Skin Cancer Foundation
Share Your Skin Cancer Story
What does skin cancer mean to you? Share your story here. We are honored to share the following videos created by skin cancer warriors from around the country.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer, yet extremely rare in teens.
But it can happen, as Laura Anne Page discovered when she was just 16 years old.
Amy, a three-time melanoma survivor shares her #ThisIsSkinCancer story. Her message to everyone:
“The sun is not your friend. You need to be proactive and protect yourself.”
“Melanoma almost killed me.” Katie battled melanoma for 7 years, endured 14 surgeries,
six different treatments and radiation. She beat the disease and not only gained her life back,
but emerged with a new sense of strength, clarity and positivity.
Leah was just 26 years old when she was diagnosed with melanoma. “Skin cancer completely changed my life.” Before her diagnosis and treatment, Leah enjoyed tanning indoors and outside. Now, she protects her skin from the sun every single day and sees her dermatologist regularly for skin exams.
When he was diagnosed with skin cancer, James, an actor, did not believe it was true. Then came the “bombshell moment” when he realized that he needed Mohs surgery on his face during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Renata identified melanoma on her husband on two separate occasions, and likely saved his life. She believes that sharing their story and spreading the word about skin cancer early detection and prevention will save more lives.
Brittany was diagnosed with melanoma in 2021, following a one-year pandemic-related delay in getting her annual skin exam. At the time of her diagnosis, Brittany, who was then just 27, did not even know what melanoma was. Now, after treatment, Brittany says that skin cancer has completely changed her life: “There is a clear, distinct difference in my life before cancer and after cancer.”
After 10 years of knowing in her heart that something was wrong with the lesion on her cheek, Stacey got it biopsied by a new doctor and received a diagnosis of melanoma. After three traumatic surgeries to remove the melanoma, Stacey has a totally different outlook on life. Her best advice: “You are your own advocate. Listen to your inner voice, and if you feel something is not right, speak up.”
After a 2017 melanoma diagnosis, Candice Mason began her skin cancer journey. In 2019, she received the shock of her life when, in the aftermath of a car accident, doctors discovered that her melanoma had spread to her brain, lungs, spleen and pelvic wall. Skin cancer has given Candice her voice and her passion in life. Her best advice to the newly diagnosed: Be your own advocate and be proactive.
Billie, a fair redhead from Australia, has had treatment for seven basal cell carcinomas, including intensive topical treatment for multiple facial BCCs. The experience taught her an important lesson: “No one is immune to skin cancer, so please wear your sun protection and get regular skin checks.”