KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Summer is here and that calls for time on the lake or a trip to the beach. It also means tan lines and possibly sunburns. One Knoxville woman’s surprising melanoma diagnosis has her speaking out about protecting your skin.

Last year WATE introduced you to Michelle Kenik, a personal trainer and cyclist who served as a marshal for the USA Cycling Criterium.

“I do road and mountain bike,” Kenik explained, “and gravel bike. I love all three of them.”

It was an exciting time for the athlete. It would close one thrilling chapter in her life only to move into a much more challenging one – her cancer diagnosis.

“About April of last year, so 2021, a new mole came up on my leg and I honestly didn’t think much about it because it looked pretty normal. I even Googled, you know, cancerous moles and it looked normal to me so stupidly I didn’t think much about it.”

But it wasn’t normal. After a biopsy, Kenik was told it was malignant, it was melanoma and it was very invasive.

“Then I was stage three and had to begin treatments. So that all happened within a month’s time last year and so that and then I’ve made it you know, like I said eight months into 12 months of treatment so far.”

She’s not yet cancer-free but she’s hoping to return to normalcy soon. This journey has taught her to step up her skincare game.

“I really just wasn’t really thinking about skin cancer. And now I’m really diligent about it. I wear nothing less than 50 SPF and I cover up and wear UPF clothing,” said Kenik.

She is urging all of us to do the same.

The Academy of Dermatology recommends to applying enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin. Most adults Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their entire body.

When outdoors, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

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