KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The American Cancer Society estimates more than 7,200 Americans will die from melanoma skin cancer this year.
The number of those diagnosed keeps rising.
Melanoma is 20 times more likely in caucasian people than African Americans. And if you’re fair with freckles, light hair and blue or green eyes or if you have a lot of moles, you’re even more at risk.
But, anyone of any skin color can get it and at any age. Although the risk does increase as you get older.
Exposure to UV rays from the sun increases the risk of getting melanoma.
Kansas City native Tim Grimes says he’s never been someone who spent more than the usual amount of time in the sun. He didn’t lay out tanning, go to tanning beds or spend a lot of time at the beach.
But, a mole he had on his back grew and changed over the course of a year. And in 2014 when he finally got it checked, he had late stage melanoma.
The cancer had spread to several parts of his body including his brain. He was only given a 5-percent chance of living, but he beat the odds.
"If I had gotten them all checked out the year that it was pointed out to me, I might have had to just get it removed and that’s it. So it’s definitely one of those things, make sure you’re on top of it. Because it might seem like nothing but I’d rather find out that it’s nothing now then find out that it had turned into something later," Grimes said.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and of all the skin cancers, melanoma is the most deadly.