Skin Cancer at 25 Years Old

Skin Cancer at 25-years Old
By: Wendy Ray

CHAFFEE, MO --Wear your sun tan lotion, a wide brimmed hat, stay in the shade, they're warnings you hear all the time to protect yourself from skin cancer. A Chaffee, Missouri woman knew those warnings, but no one knows for sure if her sun exposure caused her to be diagnosed with skin cancer at 25-years old.

"I always burned easily. When I thought of it I would put on sunscreen," Melissa Sullivan says. Melissa has always known that her light skin and freckles put her at risk for skin cancer. She never thought much about it though, not even when she found a suspicious spot. "I noticed a spot. It looked like a pinprick on my breast, and I thought did I do something at work to cause this or when I was playing with the kids," she says.

The spot got bigger, Melissa still didn't pay much attention to it. She was pregnant with her second son at the time, but after he was born she had the spot, which she says looked like a blister removed. A biopsy showed she had malignant melanoma. "Nobody had really ever seen it that way, every doctor I go to is amazed because it's not the typical spot that's exposed to the sun. It's just an example of how it can form anywhere," Melissa says. The cancer came back again in the form of more spots on her breast when she was pregnant with her third son. Melissa went through chemotherapy and had a mastectomy.

Even though her skin cancer was in an uncommon part of her body, the 28 year old mother offers good advice on how everyone can protect themselves. "I wear sunscreen, at least an SPF 15. I also make sure I wear makeup with sunscreen."