AUSTIN (KXAN) — A year and a half ago Julie Maddry noticed something odd on her right leg. At the time, she went to her doctor and was told everything was fine, but Maddry’s intuition said otherwise.
“Something told me I needed a second opinion on this,” she said.
Dermatologist Lia Gracey would be the one to confirm her biggest fear.
“It’s definitely melanoma,” Maddry said she remembers Gracey telling her.
The unofficial start of the summer has arrived and many are spending their days out on the lake and in the sunshine. However, in the last decade, Gracey said studies have shown a higher number of young people are getting skin cancer.
“It was thought to be traced back to excessive sun exposure and potentially tanning bed use,” Gracey said.
Today, Gracey, at Baylor Scott & White Health Clinic in Westlake, said she’s noticed younger people are taking more proactive steps.
“A lot of young people are getting savvier about their own health and investing in their own health and a lot of them are coming to see me of their own accord because they know it’s a good idea to get checked early,” she said.
For Maddry, this wasn’t her first time encountering skin cancer. Five years ago, she noticed an unusual-looking mole on her husband’s back that turned out to be melanoma.
“The day he went in was the same day they removed it,” Maddry said. “The doctor said ‘You go out in the lobby and you tell your wife she just saved your life.'”
Gracey said men and women get melanoma in different parts of the body. Women tend to get it on their legs and men get it on their back.
Maddry said it’s never too late to get checked, “because you just don’t know.”
She added that she’s more cautious about going out in the sun now and hopes her and her husband’s stories will serve as a warning to others.
The American Cancer Society says there are ways to stay protected:
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen.
- Slap on a hat.
- Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.