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Health Check: Couple benefits from NBC 10 Skin Check

Karleen and Rich Kingsbury, of Cranston, went to one of our NBC 10 Skin Check events last summer, and both found out they had a serious type of skin cancer. (WJAR)

A Rhode Island couple benefits from our NBC 10 skin cancer screenings.

Karleen and Rich Kingsbury, of Cranston, went to one of our NBC 10 Skin Check events last summer, and both found out they had a serious type of skin cancer.

"We call us beach bums," said Karleen, admitting she and her husband have spent years in the sun.

"Ever since Scarborough Beach back in the 70s,” said Rich.

Karleen says she has always been good about playing it safe.

"I always use sunscreen," she said.

Her husband, Rich, not so much.

"It was baby oil and iodine,” said Rich. “You know, that's what we all did.

Then last summer, they heard about the free NBC 10 Skin Check screenings.

"I was concerned with a spot on my arm," said Karleen.

"My doctor told me a couple of years ago there was a spot on my back," said Rich.

That screening took place last August at Mulligan's Island.

"They were pretty severe," said Dr. Sandy Chai of Brown Dermatology's Rhode Island Hospital location, where this couple was referred for melanomas.

“Melanoma's the most serious type of skin cancer that we deal with as dermatologists,” said Chai. “So I was very happy that they decided to seek out the free skin cancer screenings and that they showed up at my office. If they hadn't shown up at the skin cancer screenings I'm not sure how much longer they would have let those spots linger on their bodies."

Rich's melanoma was deep and had to be removed by a surgical oncologist at the Lifespan Cancer Institute. He has a rather large scar as a reminder.

Karleen had a melanoma on her arm removed, as well as one on her face.

And now this couple is in every three months for skin checks.

"And every first-degree family member has to also be screened by a dermatologist because once one relative has had skin cancer, your personal risk for skin cancer increases," said Chai.

Now, this couple is vigilant about sun protection.

"Oh, big time. Learned our lesson,” said Karleen. “Yes, all the time sunscreen and protect your eyes, visor when we go to the beach."

"It's something that you really got to pay attention to,” said Rich, who now wears sunblock with a sun protection factor of at least 30. “I didn't pay attention to it and I paid the price for it."

So far, this summer at three Skin Check locations, dermatologists have found 33 possible skin cancers. The point of these screenings: to detect those melanomas early on before they have a chance to spread.

The next two NBC 10 Skin Check events are scheduled for Friday and Sunday.

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