dermatologist

NEWS: CBS' Norah O’Donnell Opens Up About Skin Cancer

CBS morning anchor, Norah O'Donnell, recently opened up on being diagnosed with skin cancer. During an overdue dermatologist appointment last year, O'Donnell's doctor identified two spots on her back. The doctor then performed a biospy on O'Donnell. 

Shortly after, O'Donnell found out she had melanoma on her upper back. 

She told PEOPLE Magazine, “I was like, ‘Oh, my god. But [the doctor] said, ‘It’s 100 percent curable. The good news is we caught it early, but as soon as you can I want to see you and we got to take it out with a pretty significant incision. It will be deep and will be stitches.’ So the really good news is that they caught it early and they treat it very aggressively. They make a big cut to make sure there’s nothing else around it and not becoming invasive.”

She stated, "I went back in the beginning of January and had the incision done. It was three layers of stitches — like 20 in all. It was a pretty big cut and the good news is the margins were clear. It’s scary. It’s the first time, medically, that something happens to you that scares you.”

“It was really a wake up call to me. My husband was very concerned. My kids were really worried. My 9-year-old son said to me, ‘Well, is there any chance you can die from this surgery?’ And I was like, ‘No. No. No,’ ” admits O’Donnell. “Not being able to workout for six weeks was one of the hardest things. I was distraught. It also made me realize how much exercise is tied to mental health. I really was down in the dumps over the diagnoses and then not being able to exercise had a big affect on my mood.”

“I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. I ran track, I was a cheerleader and I went to a tanning salon. That was in the days before spray tans. Now, I wear 50 or 70, I use spray tan or self-tanner. But that wasn’t around when I was 20 years old.”

O'Donnell's top piece of advice: “I think getting skin checks isn’t at the top of everybody’s list. We delay our preventive care. Preventative care is so important in catching this stuff early. I have to go back every four months now. I just went back and they took off two more things, including a spot underneath the scar. They both came back totally benign, but I’m under close surveillance.”

 

Skin Screening 101

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is very important to get your skin checked every year by a medical professional. Regular skin checks will detect any unusual moles or skin formations that could be caused by the sun.

"When melanoma is detected before it spreads, it also has a high cure rate," says the American Academy of Dermatology. [Source]

Two common skin screening questions:

What happens during a skin screening? A medical professional or dermatologist screens your entire body for any traces of changes in skin texture and abnormal moles.

How long does it take? It usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

The American Academy of Dermatology offers a free skin cancer screening called SPOTme®. Find a free Spotme Skin Screening near you!

It's time to protect your skin. Will you be getting a skin screening this year?