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Valley woman urges others to be smart about skin cancer after family's devastation

Sunscreen Delay
Posted at 7:40 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 10:47:40-04

PHOENIX — "It's just skin cancer" — a saying that leads many to believe if you have a weird mole, you can get it removed and it's no big deal.

While skin cancer is the most common and most preventable of all cancers, it's not always an easy fix — and rates in Arizona are rising.

That's why a Valley woman is trying to get people to realize it's more than "just skin cancer" and a diagnosis could devastate your family the same way it did hers — but it doesn't have to.

Dee Conway says her sister Rose went to see a dermatologist when an eraser-sized mole on the back of her neck started itching and growing. It was removed, tested, and turned out to be melanoma with cancer spreading throughout her body. She underwent treatment but it didn't work.

"My sister passed away almost six months to the day from her diagnosis," said Conway. Rose was just 36 years old.

Three months later, Conway's older brother was diagnosed with skin cancer on his first-ever visit to the dermatologist. Fortunately, this time it was caught early.

Before her siblings, they had no family history of skin cancer so Conway is taking no chances with herself, her husband, or their kids.

She covers up with UV-protective clothing, uses sunscreen daily, and reapplies often. She also uses new technology like Miiskin.

The app guides you through photographing every mole on your body. It reminds you to do monthly self-checks and helps make identifying changes clearer. You can also set up profiles for everyone in your family.

"To me, it's life-changing because it really helps with the anxiety," she said.

The Miiskin app is free for the first month and then charges a fee to use. You can find it in your phone's app store.