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.