'Good Morning America's' Sam Champion Gets Skin Cancer Surgery on Live TV

Good Morning Americas Sam Champion Gets Skin Cancer Surgery on Live TV

"Good Morning America" anchor Sam Champion this morning had surgery to remove skin cancer cells from his shoulder, undergoing the procedure on live television.

Dr. Michele Pauporte, a dermatologist with Juva Skin and Laser Center in Manhattan, removed the diseased spot – a basal cell carcinoma - from Champion's left shoulder. She used Mohs surgery, a minimally invasive technique.

Champion said he had the procedure done on television to raise awareness about the prevalence of the disease.

VIDEO: Sam Has Surgery
Sam Champion's Skin Cancer Procedure

May is skin cancer awareness month. More than 1 million cases of the disease will be diagnosed every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Click here to go to our skin cancer resources page where you can find out where you can get a free bull body skin cancer scan.

Kinds of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer, and one in five people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease in their lifetime, according to data from the foundation, an international organization that advocates awareness, prevention and early detection of the disease.

VIDEO: The "GMA" anchor explains the stages of and treatments for skin cancer.
Sam Champion's Skin Cancer Treatment

There are three main kinds of skin cancer.

The most common is basal cell carcinoma. Approximately 1 million cases are diagnosed every year, and the Skin Cancer Foundation says it's rarely fatal. Even so, it's important to treat it early, Pauporte said.

Left untreated, basal cell carcinomas can grow, ultimately requiring larger-scale surgeries and resulting in larger scars.

Squamous cell carcinoma – which can resemble a rough, reddish scabbed corn on the skin -- is diagnosed about 250,000 times per year, with about 2,500 deaths, also according to the foundation. This kind of cancer is also very easily treated, Pauporte said.

In 2009, there were 122,000 diagnosed cases of melanoma, and 8,600 deaths as a result, the American Cancer Society said.

This deadly cancer starts out looking like a black or colored mole that can change in size and shape. It can even bleed, she added.

Anyone who has a mole, freckle, pimple or a rough spot that looks strange should monitor it for six to eight weeks. If the mole or freckle doesn't go away, or changes in any way, or if the pimple or sore won't bleeds or won't heal, go to a doctor right away to have it checked, Pauporte said.

How to Limit Your Risk for Skin Cancer

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' senior health and medical editor, also appeared on the show today to discuss Champion's disease and treatment.

There are several theories as to why skin cancer is on the rise, he said.

For one, it may be that more people are being screened, or it may be explained by the depletion of the ozone layer. Many people don't wear sunscreen, even though they should, he said.

Sunscreen blocks the sun's ultraviolet -- or UV -- rays, which can lead to skin cancer.

He also said the use of tanning beds had increased, and noted that people who used tanning beds when they were young increased their risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent.

More than a million people use tanning salons every day, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

In an attempt to limit the risks, various municipalities have crafted laws to restrict the use of tanning beds, particularly to teens. The House of Representatives also has approved a 10 percent tax on tanning beds, an effort designed to reduce their use.

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