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Early detection makes a difference

March 18, 2010
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One morning, as land surveyor Ricky Sears, 51, of Milton, Fla., was getting ready for work, he noticed a tiny black spot on his stomach. Because of his involvement with the Pace Relay for Life for the previous two years, he couldn't help but wonder if this was one of those moles that can cause cancer.

Cancer doesn't just happen to 'other people'

Clairen Reese / Pelican correspondent • March 17, 2010 If you're one of the lucky ones who haven't had a brush with the "C" word, you probably think it's just something that happens to other people. That's what Ricky Sears, 51, of Milton thought. For him growing up he always knew about cancer, but it wasn't something he expected to hit home personally.

"In 1992 my mom was having some health problems that lead to her going to the hospital for testing," explained Sears. "A tumor the size of a baseball was found next to her pancreas. The doctors told us it couldn't be removed because of where it was located and that cancer cells were already in her blood stream. She underwent the usual treatments, but on September 11th, 1993 she lost her battle and went to be with the Lord."

Fifteen years passed and once again the disease struck without warning.

"One morning in November of 2008 I was getting ready for work. I noticed a tiny black spot on my stomach. I thought it was just a piece of lint or something, but it wouldn't brush off. Because of my involvement with the Pace Relay for Life for the previous two years I couldn't help but wonder if this was one of those moles that can cause cancer. To be sure I made an appointment with dermatologist Dr. Scott McMartin." ...

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