May is Melanoma awareness month | KOLO 8

RENO, Nev (KOLO) A makeshift Tiki lounge is set up at the Nevada Center for Dermatology. You can hear Bob Marley in the waiting room. It’s all in recognition of Melanoma Month, and the reggae star is the poster boy for this deadly disease.

“It ended up that he had Melanoma on that toe, and because of his religion, he was unable to do an amputation which was the recommended form of treatment. And so he ended up with metastatic Melanoma that killed him four years later,” says Dr. Billie Casse, with Nevada Center for Dermatology.

Bill Haug shows us the Melanoma that was taken off his foot less than six months ago. It looked like a simple mole that the trained eye of a medical professional knew wasn’t simple.

“The first news was you have Melanoma but the rest of it was pretty good. We got it so early, it was very surface, what they call in-situ, so it was not deep in the skin at all,” says Haug.

Haug says he has a family history of Melanoma, and it was fatal. He says he lived in southern California and was out in the sun all the time.
These days he always wears a hat and sunglasses. And because of his diagnosis he sees a dermatologist frequently.

“You should, everyone should be screened, I think,” says Haug.

But such screenings with a special lighted device aren’t as common as they once were. With the changes in insurance coverage nationwide, those screenings aren’t always covered.

“If people come in with multiple complaints, many moles all over their body, then it is justifiable for you to do a skin exam on them, and that is something they will cover. Or if you have a high-risk individual,” says Dr. Cindy Lamerson, with Nevada Center for Dermatology.

Dr. Lamerson says when examining your own skin, think of the ABCDEs. Look for moles that are “A” asymmetrical, “B” irregular borders, “C” -vary in color from one spot in the mole to another spot in that same mole. Any mole larger than a pencil eraser–is “D” diameter, or moles that have changed—“E” for evolution.