MANHATTAN -- At just 27 years old, Caitlyn King found herself at her dermatologists office for a visit that left her stunned.
After years of growing up basking in the North Carolina sun and going to tanning salons, sometimes as many as two times a week, it seemed all of it may have caught up with her. She was diagnosed with skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma.
According to Dr. Bruce Katz, a clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the director of Juva Skin and Laser Center in Manhattan, the number of younger patients to his office is rising and still too many are going to tanning salons and baking in the sun with little to no protection on their skin.
"It's really serious. It's really an epidemic," Katz said.
What's even more frightening is a new study which reveals skin cancers are more likely to appear on normal skin and not on those moles we've now become conditioned to monitor. That was the case for Caitlyn.
"It was a scab of sorts. Kind of like a pimple. I didn't associate that look to skin cancer," King said.
The latest findings comes from a study conducted by New York University School of Medicine.
Cancer from a mole, according to the study, accounts for just 20 to 30 percent of Melanoma cases and they may even be more aggressive.
But moles aren't the only abnormalities patients should be on the lookout for.
"Typical skin cancers don't come from moles. They can come from themselves. Normal skin and all of a sudden there's something there that doesn't heal or looks abnormal," Katz said.
Researchers urged patients to use the ABDCE method: Check if spots or growths are Assymetrical, have uneven Borders, are dual-Colored, are large in Diameter, or are Evolving and changing in appearance over time.