Local Mom Warns Against Skin Cancer Risks

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-It’s that time of year where more people are outside soaking in the sun. However, as the summer heat is ramping up one local woman is warning others about the dangers of the sun. 

Deserae Honkamp is very careful when it comes to the sun. That’s because she was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma back in 2017. 

“It’s not something people know about, but it’s something that they should because it’s extremely dangerous,” said Honkamp.

Doctors say melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that can be caused by the sun’s UV rays.

“It’s important to be cautious all the time. Be cautious. I understand it’s fun being outside and playing and don’t get me wrong me and my sons go out all the time, but we are always protected,” said Honkamp.

So far Honkamp has undergone five different kinds of treatments as well as two surgeries.

According to Doctor Sarah Sarbacker a dermatologist at Dakota Dermatology, melanoma is increasing at a rapid pace of 3 percent a year in the US.

“When I first started in practice we would probably see a melanoma or two a month and now we see multiple melanomas a week. We see them in younger people we see them in older people. It’s very frightening,” said Dr. Sarbacker.

She says more young people are starting to get melanoma due to tanning beds.

if it’s caught early enough, melanoma can be easily and quickly treated. HOWEVER as Honkamp found out, melanoma can return months or years later.

“We celebrated because I was then N.E.D: no evidence of disease. I was super excited and then a month later it came back,” said Honkamp. 

There are ways to reduce the risk of getting melanoma. Honkamp recommends always wearing sunscreen while outside

“Follow the instructions on the sunscreen. It’s not a one time, put it on and you’re good. Normally with my sons we apply it every 40 minutes.”

Also, stay in the shade and keep your skin covered. 

“Use an umbrella in the summertime when the rays are super, super bad out. You can even look at your weather app on your phone and it will tell you how bad the UV rays are,” said Honkamp. 

It’s also important to routinely check your skin for any irregularities. 

“Where you’ve got a mole and let’s say all your moles are tan, brown and then you’ve got a black one or a weird pink one. Things that don’t fit the normal pattern of your body,” said Dr. Sarbacker. 

Melanoma can also develop on fingernails and toes. They will look like a brown or black streak in the nail. 

While the sun is a major cause of melanoma, hon-kamp just found out that hers is hereditary. She recommends folks check their family history to see if there’s any cases of melanoma. 

Honkamp also wants folks to know that melanoma can be internal like some of hers has been. She currently has melanoma on her esophagus that is unfortunately inoperable.

 

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