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Doctor Spots Dad's Skin Cancer During Son's Routine Appointment

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Woodbury teenager's acne is the reason his dad is cancer-free.

That's according to Dr. Charles Crutchfield. The dermatologist was treating 17-year-old Owen Claugherty's skin when he quickly switched his focus to Owen's dad.

In typical Minnesota form, Owen plays hockey -- and with the ice comes sweat.

"Acne issues -- the skin's not made for that sweat," Owen's dad Charles said.

So Charles took his son into Dr. Crutchfield's dermatology office, and Owen was treated.

"As I was leaving the room, just out of my peripheral vision, I saw the father," Dr. Crutchfield said. "He was putting a magazine back in the rack on the wall, and we put his arm up as I was leaving the room, and I saw a dark spot kind of move. I could see it on his arm."

Charles says he's just lucky he made a bad choice of clothes on that visit to the doctor.

"I just happened to wear a short sleeve shirt that day and it was cold, it was the winter," he said.

Dr. Crutchfield recommended he check out the spot.

"I walked out of the room, and you know how sometimes you have that voice -- 'You better go check that out.' I thought 'No, it's really busy today, and it wasn't his appointment. I'll make a not on the chart that next time they come in,'" Dr. Crutchfield said. "I started walking down the hall, and that little voice got louder, 'Hey, I told you, go check it out.'"

Charles Claugherty said he hadn't even noticed the changes in the mole on his arm, but Dr. Crutchfield couldn't turn away

"I said 'Yeah, I'm going back to work,'" Charles said.

Dr. Crutchfield then told Owen that there was a 30 percent chance of losing his dad, so Owen insisted they check it out right there.

"And low and behold a couple days later and I got a call from the dermatopathologist and she said ,'It's a thin melanoma, you caught it early,'" Dr. Crutchfield said.

Melanoma makes up 90 percent of skin cancer deaths. Charles' was caught so early, he just needed two treatments and a few stiches, and it was all thanks to a few pimples, says Dr. Crutchfield.

"He came in for his son's acne and it ended up saving his life," Dr. Crutchfield said.

Charles is feeling much better, but now he is checking himself daily for new changes in moles.

What To Look For In A Typical Melanoma:

Dr. Crutchfield says to remember the "ABCD" rule:

  • Asymmetric
  • irregular Borders
  • Color variation
  • Diamaeter bigger than 6mm

Click here to see more images of typical Melanomas.

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