KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Richard Klover had an itchy mole on his back in 2005. It turned out to be melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Klover and his wife, Kelly, thought all was fine after surgery to remove the cancer.
“I guess, so to speak, swept it under the rug only to have the rug pulled out from underneath us,” said Kelly Klover.
Richard Klover died in 2010 at age 46 after learning the cancer had spread.
“It’s the cancer that’s easiest to self-detect, yet if not caught early, it’s one of the most malignant and incurable of all cancers, and I didn’t know this,” said Kelly Klover.
She wants others to know. She started the Outpacing Melanoma Foundation. It funds education, screening and research through the Midwest Cancer Alliance and K.U. Cancer Center. This year’s Outpacing Melanoma 5K is Sunday, May 4. For details visit outpacingmelanoma.org.
The event is held just before Melanoma Monday, a nationwide awareness day.
“When it’s caught early, it’s almost entirely curable. Before it gets into the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent,” said Dr. Daniel Aires, a dermatologist at the University of Kansas Hospital.
Dr. Aires says you should check your skin every few months, keeping in mind the A-B-C-D-E of melanoma. A is for asymetry. One side of the mole doesn’t match the other. B is for an irregular border. C is for color. More than two colors is a red flag.
D is for diameter — larger than a pencil eraser.
“And the most important one is E — evolution. If it’s evolving, changing, that’s something to bring to the attention of your doctor,” said Dr. Aires.
Also look for signs of other skin cancers that are less dangerous but need to be removed.
“Things that are bleeding, are red, are scaly and crusty, things that just don’t go away,” said Dr. Aires.
Kelly Klover wears her message on the back on her t-shirt. It says, “Don’t delay. Get checked today.”
“If this can stop one person from having to go through the experience my family went through, it will all be worth it,” she said.