NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — May is National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month, and Monday, May 2, happens to be Melanoma Monday.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, claiming the lives of over 7,000 Americans every year, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation.

Stacey Johnson, a director of News 8’s newscasts, knows about melanoma firsthand. She said she noticed a spot on her face 13 years ago when she was around 30 years old.

“I was starting to get dark age spots,” Johnson said. “Some people call them liver spots, sunspots. There’s a photo where you can see it’s tiny.”

Johnson said she knew something was wrong and saw a new dermatologist.

“I was going to a dermatologist,” she said. “I knew something was wrong, so I went to a new dermatologist who biopsied it, and it came back as melanoma, and that was three years ago this month.”

Johnson said she had a five-inch hole taken out of her cheek and underwent a series of surgeries.

“It’s taken me a long time to get used to my new face I guess you could say,” she said. “But I’ve had so much love and support through this whole journey. It’s been hard. I’m still not 100% with it, but I’m alive.”

Johnson now talks to others about the dangers of tanning beds and reminds everyone to get their whole bodies checked by a doctor.

“Tanning beds were my thing,” she said. ” I tanned for over 15 years because I hated how pale I was. I always thought I looked so much prettier with a healthy glow.”

For more information on melanoma and what you need to know about skin cancer, how to spot skin cancer early, and understand your skin cancer risk, visit these sites: