CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A melanoma patient from Jackson, Mo. takes part in St. Louis 5K to raise awareness and risks of skin cancer.
On Saturday, July 22, Tammy Riley took part in Blackout Melanoma’s 10th annual 5K Run/Walk to help prevent melanoma.
The run/walk began at Creve Couer Lake and was the host area for the event.
“All I could hear was you’re going to die,” said Tammy Riley.
She was diagnosed with metastatic malignant melanoma in December of 2017 and said that fighting this cancer is a full time job.
“I’m still here a year and a half later but it has not been a fun trip," said Riley.
She has to come into the Saint Francis Healthcare Cancer Center every month for amino therapy and every three months for a skin check and a PET scan, all this on top of the 20 rounds of chemo therapy and a surgery.
“I just assumed skin cancer was on the surface I didn’t realize it could go deeper. I was mistaken,” said Riley.
Riley told me her goal now is to get the word out about the dangers of skin cancer.
“I want people to know that, especially if you are fair skinned or have many moles like i do it is very important to get your skin checked,” said Riley.
Dr. Sagar Patel an Oncologist at Saint Francis Healthcare said, if you have a light complexion, a family history of cancer or a genetic syndrome that predisposes you to cancer it’s important that you get checked regularly.
He said you should also check yourself in between regular visits.
“You want to look for abnormalities aside from your own complexion,whether its anything raise, anything asymmetry, any complexion change,” said Dr. Patel.
And this summer he said wear your sunscreen, protect your skin from the sun and avoid UV Rays.
“Just take very good care of your skin because you don’t want to end up like me and think that you’ve lost everything you have,” said Riley.
Some hospitals and local dermatology clinics offer free screening periodically.
For more information on skin cancer click here.