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

"GMA" anchor undergoes skin cancer surgery on live television.

ByABC News via logo
May 11, 2010, 1:18 PM

May 12, 2010 — -- "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.

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.

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.

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.