Vietnam veteran beats skin cancer with Florida doctor's help

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Jack Cooper of Naples, Florida flew helicopters in Vietnam and since retiring from the Army, he developed several skin cancers and other medical problems.

In recent years Cooper experienced incredible pain from blisters on his arms and rashes across his lower body, which resulted in him wearing long sleeves to cover the sores.

After the Department of Veterans Affairs referred Cooper to Dr. Cyndi Yag-Howard to treat and manage his skin conditions, he was diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Cooper’s skin conditions are now well-managed, and he is living symptom-free. 

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“It’s more than just being comfortable in my skin; Dr. Yag-Howard has also empowered me to do things I haven’t done in decades, like playing golf,” said Cooper. “Dr. Yag-Howard taught me how to avoid sun exposure and gave me confidence to go out and enjoy life without compromising my health.”


Thousands of the nearly 610,000 Vietnam veterans report serious health problems, including many cancers and Parkinson’s Disease.

“It’s important for our veterans to have access to dermatologists’ expertise because many of them have skin diseases as a result of their service,” said Yag-Howard, a board-certified dermatologist who is also a volunteer dermatologist at the James A. Haley VA in Tampa, Florida.

The American Academy of Dermatology has named Yag-Howard a Patient Care Hero for her work treating veterans with serious service-related skin conditions.

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“Veterans often face a lifetime of difficult conditions once their service ends,” said board-certified dermatologist Dr. Bruce H. Thiers, president of the AAD.

The AAD created the program to recognize physicians who transform patients’ lives by utilizing their expertise and collaborating with other physicians to treat serious skin disease.

 To learn more about Yag-Howard’s work, click here. 

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