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Know your skin, risk factors: Kelowna skin cancer physician

Kimberly Fogarty, left, and Dr. Ben Wiese discuss skin care. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Dan Couch / Global News

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and doctors at the Kelowna Skin Cancer Screening Clinic want to get a message out to Okanagan residents.

“Know your skin. Know your risk factors,” Dr. Ben Wiese said. “And if you are at risk, if there is something new, something changing, make sure you get help.”

READ MORE: Beauty queen spreads awareness of skin cancer after finding it on her thumb

It’s a message that hits home with Kimberly Fogarty.

When she spotted a mole on her leg, she asked her family doctor about it and was told it was fine. But as time went on she noticed it was changing, and becoming uncomfortable.

Click to play video: 'Skin cancer int' Skin cancer int
Skin cancer int – May 9, 2019

WATCH ABOVE:  Extended interviews with Kimberly Fogarty and Dr. Ben Wiese

“I knew it wasn’t right, but you kind of get lazy, you kind of get busy and you put it off,” Fogarty said. “Who knows if I put it off a week, a month, it could have been a totally different story.”

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Fortunately, a new doctor referred her to the Kelowna Skin Cancer Screening Clinic.

The mole was removed immediately and though it was confirmed to be melanoma, it was caught on time.

Tests of Fogarty’s lymph node showed the cancer had not spread.

READ MORE: UBC scientist develops low-cost skin cancer tool

“I think very often people think ‘Oh, it’s just skin cancer, it doesn’t really matter.’ But skin cancer can be deadly and it can be disfiguring,” Dr. Lize Wiese said.

Kimberly Fogarty is sharing her story in hopes it could help others.

“I think there are about four or five people I’ve told my story to that actually have a mole that they’re going to get checked,” she said.

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