Mrs. Minnesota diagnosed with melanoma, says she's not a tanner

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Mrs. Minnesota United States, Allison Crandall, never thought she’d be diagnosed with melanoma at age 31. But on Thursday morning, she had the melanoma and the surrounding skin literally cut out of her upper leg.

Cancer was not in the game plan for the former Vikings cheerleader.

"I take care of myself. I eat clean. I exercise. I thought I was the picture of health. It goes to show you. You never know,” she said.

She appears to be one of the lucky ones because doctors caught the cancer at its earliest stage -- "I'm so glad, it's honestly a blessing I came in when I did and I didn't wait any longer,” she said.

Luckily there's no indication that it spread beyond the surface mole she watched darken over the years.

"The type of melanoma Allison had, this one on the surface of the skin, it is one of the most rapidly increasing diagnosed cancers in people,” Dr. Shaffer said.

Her procedure was performed by Dr. Joe Shaffer of the Eagan-based Dermatology Consultants. Dr. Shaffer tells Fox 9 that the practice has seen a spike in recent years of all melanomas, hitting people particularly hard in two age groups -- their 20's and 30's, and then older patients in their 60's and 70's.

Sun and UV ray exposure is often blamed, but Crandall said she’s not a tanner -- “I never worshipped tanning beds. I wear sunscreen all the time. So it's just scary. You do all the right things."

The blonde hair, fair-skinned beauty queen with Norwegian roots believes her condition should be a warning for other young Minnesota women to get checked.

“This is definitely something I will incorporate into my platform, absolutely get checked. It's better to be safe than sorry."