Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Wednesday said that his wife, Lacey, who was treated for melanoma years ago, had experienced a recurrence and was undergoing surgery for metastatic melanoma. He said he was choosing to highlight their story as a way to raise awareness about the risk factors for the skin cancer.

In a Facebook post, Adams outlined how exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds can increase the likelihood of melanoma and described the warning signs. He said Lacey Adams used to tan frequently.

The couple has three children.


“I am confident Lacey/ our family will beat this,” Adams wrote, noting that Lacey Adams was in surgery as he posted the message. “I also think things happen for a reason, and Lacey has me thinking that our reason may be to raise awareness about melanoma risk, prevention, and early detection.”

It is not the first time the surgeon general and his family have invoked their personal stories to draw attention to public health issues. Adams has spoken frequently about his brother’s struggles with addiction and how they led his brother, Phillip, to a cycle of incarceration.

In a blog post on March 17, Lacey Adams explained that she had a mole removed from her thigh seven years ago that was determined to be melanoma. “I have religiously gone to the dermatologist every year, have been pretty good at listening to my mom about slathering on sunscreen and have been wearing all of her big ugly, floppy sun hats,” she wrote.

She said she had recently felt swollen lymph nodes near the site of the initial melanoma and found out that there was “cancer activity” in the nodes when she went to the doctor. She wrote she had been diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma.

Lacey Adams is being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (another military hospital) and has met with scientists at the National Institutes of Health to learn about trials, according to the Facebook and blog posts.

“Please pray for us/ wish us well as you see fit, and please be aware of your or your loved ones own risk factors for melanoma – especially during this spring break season,” Jerome Adams wrote in the Facebook post.

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  • Too little truth is known about melanoma, including the fact that 75% of melanomas occur on areas of the body that seldom or never experience sun exposure. Non-burning sun exposure is vital to human health. Don’t take away our sun exposure, just avoid sunburning. Much of the world is now vitamin D deficient, and for every death caused by diseases that are associated with sun exposure, there are about 328 deaths caused by diseases that are associated with sun deprivation. In the U.S, sun exposure has decreased by 90% since 1935. During that time the risk of melanoma has increased by 3,000%. Isn’t it interesting that each year the use of sunscreen increases, and each year the risk of contracting melanoma increases? It is not sun exposure that causes health problems; it is sun deprivation. And, it is leading to 336,000 deaths yearly in the U.S. There has also been an 8,300% increase in vitamin D deficiency in children since 2000, which is likely due to insufficient time playing outdoors and/or sunscreen use. So you see, all of this “protection” may be fatal. In addition, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released information that 73% of sunscreens don’t work and some may be counterproductive. Here are more facts you should know:
    •A 20-year Swedish study demonstrated a 23% reduced risk of all-cause death among those women who used sunbeds (tanning beds).
    •Women who actively seek the sun have half the risk of death compared with those who avoid the sun.
    •A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip-fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
    •Men who work outdoors have half the risk of melanoma as those who work indoors.
    •Women who avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
    •Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay indoors.
    •Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.
    •Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin.
    •Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, essential to a properly functioning nervous system.
    For more information: Sunlight Institute website:

  • My thoughts are with you. I was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma 6 years ago. It started under my arm and spread to my lungs. It was pink (amelanotic) and so was misdiagnosed even by a dermatologist so tell folks it does not have to be dark. I was given one of the immune boosting drugs which worked like a miracle. I have had 6 years that I did not expect. There are so many new treatments available now that were not even available 7 years ago so keep your hopes up. With something like this happening, every day is a blessing. All my best.

    • I am so excited to read of your success with immunotherapy. Hopefully the surgeon general will not only focus on prevention, but also on advocating for increased funding for cancer cure/treatment research. Prevention is important, but as you well know, for those with cancer, effective treatments are even more important. My thoughts are with you and hope you have many many more years of good health and that advances in science will continue to keep you healthy.

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