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“I knew the mole on my back didn’t look great,” recalls Stacia Romeo of Nescopeck. “It was dark, but it had been the same color and size for years. I put off going to see a dermatologist for a while because I had a lot of other things going on.”
 
The 32-year-old scheduled an appointment to have her skin and moles checked in late March 2018. Soon after, she received a call from her Geisinger dermatologist Dr. Michele Maroon: Stacia’s mole was melanoma - the most serious type of skin cancer.
 
“When Dr. Maroon told me it was skin cancer, I wasn’t surprised. But I had no idea it was as serious as it was,” says Stacia. “Then she said I had to see an oncologist and have my lymph nodes checked. I kind of stopped listening. I just couldn’t hear her anymore. This was way more serious than I expected.”
 
Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer that starts in the cells that form moles. Although it can grow anywhere on your body, it most often develops in areas that have been exposted to the sun. Melanoma skin cancer can be treated successfully if detected early.
 
“I knew the mole wasn’t normal – it was dark and tender. It didn’t hurt all of the time, only if I bumped it on something, or scratched it," says Stacia. "That’s how I rationalized ignoring it. It was the same size for years, it was the same color. But it was tender. And that’s a warning sign that I wasn’t aware of, until now.”
 
Stacia had her mole and lymph node removed by surgical oncologist Dr. Joseph Blansfield at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
 
“My mole was a little bigger than a pencil eraser," says Stacia. "But this wasn’t an office procedure, like I originally thought it would be. I have a scar now, and it’s six inches long.”
 
Stacia is grateful she had her skin checked when she did. 
 
“No one asks you about your skin outside of dermatology," she says. "I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and I’ve had moles removed in the past that were normal. This was a real wake-up call for me. I want everyone to hear my story. If you’re seeing this, check your moles. Do they hurt when you touch them? Don’t just look at the size and color. And please, put on sunscreen. I never wore sunscreen in the winter – but I do now!”
Woman pointing at sign outdoors that says healthy skin is made in the shade
Stacia Romeo is an advocate for skin cancer awareness after her own melanoma diagnosis.

Get care for skin, moles and melanoma

Regular skin checks from a medical professional are important.