Former NewsWest 9 Reporter Shares Her Family's Tragic Story With - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Former NewsWest 9 Reporter Shares Her Family's Tragic Story With Melanoma

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The official start of Spring is Wednesday meaning there will be more people spending time outdoors, whether it be for leisure or pleasure, but unfortunately most don't use any skin protectors. In a recent study it's estimated that one person dies of melanoma every 57 minutes.

NewsWest 9 spoke to a former NewsWest 9 reporter who shares her story of how shocked she was to find out one of her family members died due to melanoma.

"When we found out about it, we were just kinda devastated at the same time, but also kinda confused of what was going on because we never heard of that happening especially considering that he was black on top of that," former NewsWest 9 reporter, Shawndrea Thomas, said.

In the Summer of 2011, Terran Hubbard called his sister, Shawndrea, telling her he was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. The devastating news was hard for her. She could not understand how a man who rarely ever got sick could be diagnosed with the malignant cancer. Even worse was discovering where the cancer was located.

"A cancer that started under his toenail on his right foot. It turned out that his cancer was one of those forms of melanoma skin cancer that are in areas that are not exposed to the sun," Thomas said.

Soon after, doctors determined it was stage three cancer. The toe was amputated, but that was only the beginning. For an entire year, Hubbard underwent weekly chemotherapy, unfortunately that was not the end of it.

"It ended up spreading to both of his lungs and his brain and it was stage four. One day he was out hanging out with his fiance and he went to get a massage and he was getting up to go get his massage, got dressed and the tumors in his brain ruptured. He just went down and he never got back up," Thomas said.  

For Shawndrea as well as for her family and friends this tragedy has been an eye opener. It sent out the brutal message that not only light skinned ethnicities are prone to skin cancer, but unfortunately, it's an illness that can affect anyone no matter what color you are.

"I use to have this idea that I didn't have to worry about skin cancer that was for people with really fair skin, it wasn't an issue for me. I discovered SPF 75, I didn't know there was such a thing. I put my sun block on and avoid the sun at all cost," Thomas said.

The bottom line is no matter what skin color you are if you plan to be outdoors for a unknown amount of time always wear sunscreen. If you notice any discoloration around your fingernails or toenails, make an appointment as soon as possible with your physician.

Shawndrea's story will air on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. on The Doctors on NewsWest 9.

 

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