Most of Adelbert “Mac” McIntyre’s life has been spent in the sun. Between his day job laying gas pipelines and his free time spent on the San Diego beaches, Mac found both his life’s work and his relaxation in the sunshine.
All of that direct sunlight took a toll on Mac’s body, and when it came time for a routine physical, doctors found a small spot on his chest that raised suspicion. “They said it looked rather peculiar,” Mac remembered. When the tests came back, they confirmed the doctors’ suspicions: Mac had melanoma.
When caught early, melanoma is also highly treatable. According to Kaiser Permanente dermatologist Amy Reisenauer, the treatability of melanoma in its earliest stages is 98 percent, but if left untreated, melanoma will spread to a person’s lymph nodes and other organs, greatly reducing the likelihood of survival.
Over the course of a year, Mac’s doctors found two melanomas. Luckily, neither were cancerous and were removed easily. Mac, like many others, felt that his melanoma was cured and quickly forgot about his follow-up appointments. Before he knew it, three years had gone by without a check-up or self-exam. Thankfully, his care team proactively reached out to him after realizing his missed appointments appointments and scheduled him for a follow-up exam.
“I think during that time I figured they had gotten everything,” Mac said. “But that’s not how melanomas work. Just overnight one can come up.” Sure enough, when he went back to the doctor, they found a third melanoma.
With the support of his Kaiser Permanente care team, Mac rid his body of skin cancer a third time. Today, he understands the importance of sun safety and monthly self-exams. “I can’t stress the importance of getting with your doctor and having a body-check,” he said. “And always remember to wear your hat!”