You're smart. You've heard all the statistics about skin cancer—like how it's the most common cancer in the U.S. and that one in five Americans will develop the disease in her lifetime, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Yet new cases are still on the rise. Rates of melanoma, the deadliest form, have more than doubled since the 1970s. Maybe you think you're not at risk because of the color of your skin, or where you live, or the fact that you haven't been to a beach since 1993. But these six survivors prove that skin cancer doesn't affect just pale-skinned people or outdoorsy types. Read their stories and get inspired to take control of your skin's health.More
Thanks to her fair skin, Chelsea got plenty of sunburns as a child, so when a freckle on her cheek started to change—it became larger, darker, and asymmetrical and the edges started to blur—she had it checked out. A week later, the results were in: She had melanoma. Chelsea's freckle was removed, but she was left with a three-inch S-shaped scar from her cheek to her earlobe. "It took a week before I could look at myself in the mirror," she says. But now she hopes seeing it will inspire people to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. The most important one, of course, is using sunscreen, which is now the first thing Chelsea puts on herself and her daughter every day. "I can't change the fact that I've had skin cancer, but I can definitely be a source of support and education for my girl and others."
"I used to think tanned skin was beautiful skin—and I used tanning beds up to five times a week to get it—but after a doctor found three melanomas that left deep scars on my back, I realized the risk is too great. I've learned to love my pale complexion."