PITTSBURGH - A local woman diagnosed with melanoma twice before she turned 30 blames it on her use of tanning beds.
Jessica Rogowicz was diagnosed with melanoma when she was 24 years old, then again when she was 28.
"In between my first and second diagnoses, I was very careful," said Rogowicz. "I worse sunscreen, but I had done so much damage to my skin in my first 24 years, that when I was 28, it ended up coming back again in a different area."
Rogowicz said she blames both of her melanoma cases on her use of tanning beds. Rogowicz would seek out tanning beds that would give her the quickest, darkest tan.
She said her diagnoses with melanoma caused physical and emotional pain, especially when she had to tell her loved ones.
"The hardest call I ever had to make was to my husband and my parents to tell them I had skin cancer," Rogowicz said.
Rogowicz was also left with physical scars from the various treatments she received.
"I actually had a drain tube in my back when I had the cancer removed, and I probably have a six-inch-long scar running down my back," said Rogowicz. "I also had to have lymph nodes removed underneath my arms and have a pretty big scar on my leg from my second diagnosis."
Dr. John Kirkwood of the Hillman Cancer Center said being diagnosed with skin cancer twice is not unusual.
"Once you have had one melanoma, your skin has told you it is capable of being damaged of having malignant change," said Kirkwood. "Having one melanoma is a risk factor for having a second."
Rogowicz said she has learned a very important lesson from her battles with melanoma and hopes her lessons can be passed on to her daughter.
"I will not miss a single one of my dermatologist appointments or appointments with my oncologists, because if it does come back, I want to be there for my little girl," said Rogowicz. "I will be extremely strict with her with sunscreen. She will be packing it in her book bag."
UPMC Cancer Centers offer free skin cancer screening. Click here to visit their website.
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