Woman credits hairdresser for catching her skin cancer

OXFORD, Pa. (WPVI) -- Kathy Cummiskey is helping to spread the word about melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Her cancer was caught all thanks to a simple hair appointment.

Cummiskey was at the Texture Salon in Oxford, Pa. when her stylist noticed something worrisome.

"As I was lifting up the hair, I noticed a really dark, flat, black area," said DeeDree Erlichman.

She says it was about the size of a quarter and told Kathy she needed to get it checked right away by a dermatologist.

Days later, tests came back showing it was melanoma.

"A lot of things went through my head, like 'Has it spread? How big is it?'" Kathy said.

Fortunately, the cancer had not spread to other parts of her body. But it was stage two, and doctors had to surgically cut out a large area on her scalp.

Now her family is helping raise awareness about melanoma.

This Sunday in Philadelphia, they'll be among hundreds of people who will lace up their sneakers to raise awareness and money for research to battle melanoma.

Their team- the Kat Pack - will be participating in this weekend's Miles for Melanoma event.

Kathy and her husband, Matt, have known each other since they were kids. But even he never noticed the spot.

"I think it's a miracle that DeeDree saw it and she spoke up," Matt said.

"Definitely saved my life, I think," said Kathy.

"It's a little overwhelming, but I am happy and relieved that we found it," said DeeDree.

DeeDree's salon has also joined Mark the Spot. It's a campaign to educate hair stylists what to look for in spotting suspicious moles or lesions.

Kathy now tells everyone to wear sunscreen, check your skin and visit the dermatologist.

The Miles for Melanoma 5K is this Sunday at the Philadelphia Zoo. Registration starts at 7 a.m.

For more information about the Miles for Melanoma 5K:

http://events.melanoma.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1136256

For more information on the Mark the Spot program for hair salons (with the Melanoma Research Foundation):

http://www.melanoma.org/get-involved/melanoma-awareness/mark-spot

For more information about melanoma:

http://www.melanoma.org/
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