Marysue D Marysue Demaio’s Melanoma Story

I normally go to my dermatologist every year for a skin screening. However, because of COVID, I had put off going for the past two years.

Last summer, while Marysue Demaio was trying on dresses for her granddaughter’s wedding, she noticed a suspicious mole on her upper arm. Having had benign moles removed in the past, Marysue was not too concerned and focused her attention on the upcoming wedding. It was not until January 2022, when Marysue went to see her dermatologist who removed the mole and sent it off for a biopsy.

“I normally go to my dermatologist every year for a skin screening. However, because of COVID, I had put off going for the past two years,” says Marysue.

While out shopping, Marysue got a call from her dermatologist that her biopsy results showed melanoma. Shocked by the news, she left everything in her cart and went home to be with her family. “The first thing I thought of when I heard I had cancer were my three brothers who lost their lives to lung cancer,” Marysue recalls.

Marysue was referred to surgical oncologist Franz Smith, MD, MAcM, FACS, Medical Director, The Melanoma Center, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, Northern Lead, Melanoma and Soft Tissue Oncology Program, and a member of the RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. She was scheduled for surgery to remove the cancer on February 11, 2022.

“We performed a resection of the area to remove Marysue’s tumor in her arm, as well as a sentinel lymph node biopsy to make sure the melanoma cells had not spread to her lymph nodes,” Dr. Smith explains.

Marysue DemaioThroughout her life, Marysue spent a lot of time in the sun. It was not until recent years that she has become more diligent about using sunscreen and protecting her skin. “We didn’t know any better back then,” Marysue says.

After her diagnosis, Marysue has encouraged her entire family to get regular skin screenings. “I feel good now,” she says. “I will be more mindful of the things I see on my body, and I will not be wearing sleeveless shirts anymore.”

“Exposure to the sun is linked to skin cancer,” says Dr. Smith. “No matter the season, it is important to protect your skin when you go outside. This includes using proper sunscreen, wearing appropriate clothing with UV protection as well as sunglasses to protect your eyes and examining your skin regularly.”

Dr. Smith sees patients at Clara Maass Medical Center and The Melanoma Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, where a team of specialists offers advanced skin cancer screening, expert diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment of melanoma. Find melanoma early, when it is most treatable. To learn more, visit

RWJBarnabas Health and the Cancer Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, together with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey—the state’s only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—provide close-to-home access to the latest treatment options. To learn more, call 844.CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.