Over $40K raised in Miles for Melanoma race

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Saturday morning, people took to the pavement in St. Paul in support of those with a common type of cancer that is often under-diagnosed.

The Twin Cities Miles for Melanoma 5K took place at Phalen Regional Park, with runners racing toward the finish line and hoping for a cure.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Meteorologist Wren Clair emceed the event, which raised nearly $41,000, according to organizers, soaring past their $30,000 goal.

The American Cancer Society says about 100,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma — the most serious type of skin cancer — this year in the United States alone. While there is no sure way to prevent it, there are simple steps that can lower your risk:

  • Use sunscreen if outside,
  • Wear a shirt, hat and sunglasses to protect your skin,
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps,
  • Watch for abnormal moles that could turn into skin cancer.

At the event, Dr. Julie Schultz, a dermatologist with Allina Health, was offering free skin cancer screenings and suggested others check themselves monthly to look for odd spots.

“A lot of times we are looking for if the mole is asymmetrical,” Dr. Schultz said.

She also said key indicators of melanoma could be spots with multiple colors, irregular borders, black areas or even bleeding.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS also spoke with an oncologist from Minnesota Oncology, Dr. Tom Amatruda, who has specialized in this type of cancer diagnosis for decades. Dr. Amatruda says the prognosis for patients continues to improve.

“The big change has been the fundamental understanding of how the immune system works and training the immune system to attack the cancer,” Dr. Amatruda added.

Experts add the death rate for melanoma has largely stayed the same, despite the rise in cases. This leads doctors to believe the most important way to fight it is to catch signs of skin cancer as early as possible.

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