Victim of skin cancer: Harris Co. woman warns against tanning and sun exposure

Woman battles skin cancer and warns others of sun exposure

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Now's the time of year when people like to get out and into the sun, but there's a word of caution from a Harris County woman.

Her days of sun worship are over after she was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer.

Sue Knight says years of hanging out in the sun without any type of protection has now turned into a world of problems. She hopes by sharing her story she can help others to think twice before they sit in the sun for long periods of time.

"I was raised in Miami, never had a clue back then about skin cancer. We were all sun worshipers and I loved to tan," said Knight.

After all those years of fun in the sun, it has finally caught up with her.

"Even when we would go to the beach I would never use any sun block or anything like that," Knight added.

Knight was diagnosed with Basal Cell, a form of skin cancer, after she discovered a spot on her back in 2010.

"I didn't pay that much attention to it and when I went for that one spot, that's when they found eight and after that they continued," explained Knight.

She believes the spots were on her on body way before she noticed something was wrong. In the last five years, Knight has had over 20 surgeries to remove the spots.

"Basal cell usually means they can cut all of it out. It's a rough area about the size of a dime. It doesn't necessarily turn colors, it can be the same color as your skin," said Knight.

Usually those with fair skin are easily prone to basal cell cancer. Knight now wants to make sure she is extra careful in the sun to minimize any other recurring spots.

"They've been on my back. I've had two on each on of my thighs. One on each shoulder. I still love the sun, but I look at it inside from out the window," Knight included.

The frequent tanner and beach lover has now become an advocate to help protect others from skin cancer. She encourages others to wear sunscreen, wear the proper sun gear while out in the sun and decrease the use of tanning beds when possible.

"When I go to the beach, I wear sun block now. I recommend wearing a hat to protect your face as much as you can. I've been very fortunate to not have any spots on my face or anywhere noticeable. I preached to everybody about it. I love tanning beds. If I couldn't go out to the sun, I would be in the tanning bed," said Knight.

Knight just visited a doctor Thursday morning for a spot that appeared under her chin. She sees a dermatologist every three months to make sure the basal cell cancer is under control.

Basal cell is the most frequently occurring form of skin cancer. Nearly  three million cases have been diagnosed in the United States.

For more information on this type of cancer please click here.

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