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Dermatologist Spots Lung Cancer in Patient During His Skin Exam

Richard Danzer thought he was just getting a possible cyst looked at by the dermatologist referred to him by his primary care doctor.

 

What was thought to be a benign issue turned out to be stage 4 skin cancer. Brittany Smirnov, MD, noticed that the lesion was too hard to be cyst, and “fixed to the underlying structures, which means it didn’t move around freely.”

The Palm Beach man said he was worried about the lesion from the get-go. “I was concerned about it but everyone said, 'Oh it’s just a fatty mass,’” he told CBS 12 News. Danzer underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments for a year and is now in remission. "I had stage four lung cancer. You know, there is no stage five. I don’t know that I would’ve survived,” he said.

Danzer was very lucky, and his story serves as a cautionary tale for anyone who ignores lumps, marks, cysts and other lesions. "Go. Now. Absolutely. Had it not been for her, I’d have been dead," he said.

According to news reports, this isn’t the first time Dr. Smirnov has detected a separate condition in a patient. She says that annual skin check-ups can help prevent these kinds of scares.

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