Dr. Travis Kidner: Mole Or Melanoma? - KMSP-TV

Dr. Travis Kidner: Mole Or Melanoma?

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As a surgeon specializing in melanoma, Dr. Travis Kidner often has to give out bad news, but recently he was on the receiving end, having developed a malignant melanoma.

Last month, he had it removed, in the same operating room where he had removed so many others from his own patients.

Melanoma is the fastest growing kind of cancer in the US. It used to be uncommon among people under 40. Not anymore. It is now the second most prevalent cancer among women in their 20s.

Melanoma is caused by exposure to the sun or tanning beds, but some people think the latter may explain its recent rise among young people. Studies have shown the chances of developing melanoma increase even with a single session. Unfortunately for many years, people have believed tanning beds would give you a "healthy tan" and prevent you from sunburn.

The FDA is considering new regulations that would require the makers of tanning beds to add a warning label telling young people not to use it. California already prohibits its use by people under 18.

Dr Kidner's own personal story has a happy ending and a few lessons. Melanoma that is detected early is highly treatable, but the survival rate drops very quickly when it isn't. Having your moles checked regularly, especially if you have a family history, saved Dr Kidner's life and can save your own. At the recent Revlon Walk For Melanoma, the Rox Cancer Center of which Dr Kidner is part set up a booth showing people the five warning signs commonly known as ABCDEs, and engaging them on an interactive game to guess which moles were malignant. This game can easily be replicated on television.

Also, people of all ages should avoid tanning beds. Not only they have been shown to increase your chances of getting melanoma. They also cause premature wrinkles.

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