Early Detection Helps Local Pulitzer Nominated Writer Strike Out Cancer

As seen on THV11

Jerry Jay Carroll is a journalist-turned-author who lives in Hot Springs Village. He has beat cancer three times now. And he owes it to early detection.

He has authored five novels and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize twice. Before becoming an author, he was a journalist and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. But this latest story features him as the main character and it's nonfiction.

"I'm a testament to preventative medicine," Carroll said. He's had three cancers; prostate, colon and now skin. "And all of them were discovered by doctors during routine visits," he said.

Carroll's wife took him to the dermatologist to examine a spot on his back, which turned out to be fine. But during the exam, the doctor noticed a place on his chest that looked abnormal.

"His eyes were on my chest," Carroll said. "And he said we'd better have a biopsy on that."

His dermatologist, Dr. Adam Stibich, dermotologist at CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, noticed that the spot was what he calls "an ugly duckling." It wasn't like the others, so he knew that had to test it. The biopsy came back positive for melanoma. They quickly removed it.

The whole thing happened so fast that it can be jarring for patients. "It's kinda scary," Stibich said. "I mean, about 80 percent don't know that they have something on them. You can do everything right and still end up here."

Stibich suggested yearly check-ups and to keep an eye out for clues. In Carroll's case, a brother with a skin cancer on his neck. Skin cancer in the family is a good indicator that you should be checked, Stibich said.

The operation at the CHI St. Vincent's Cancer Center in Hot Springs was successful and quick. Carroll has had two cancers treated in Hot Springs since moving from San Francisco. He is impressed with the care he's received.

If he does turn the ordeal into a book, this would be the moral of the story: "Be a fan of preventative medicine," Carroll said. " Do all the stuff they tell you to do. They've got your best interested at heart."

Learn more about Dr. Adam Stibich, CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs and the CHI St. Vincent's Cancer Center in Hot Springs.