Sunday, March 4, 2012

The importance of skin care

As I have written before, I had melanoma when my kiddos were much younger.  It scared the bejeepers out of me, as well it should.  I've always worn sunscreen, and it was a wonderful lesson that sometimes that's just not enough.  So, every 6 months *religiously* I visit my dermatologist who asks me to strip naked and puts on his crazy magnifying glasses and peers over every square inch of my skin.  I got over the embarrassment of standing arse nekkid in front of this man a long time ago.  Which is a good thing!  Well, I went for my appointment this past Friday.  And had some precancerous cells burned off my nose.  They were well disguised as dry skin, which I had been overmoisturizing for a couple of months.  He doesn't use the "c" word with me, 'cause I often get teary eyed when it comes up.  But you know that when he performs a procedure that is covered by OHIP, that's why.  So I have a nice little spot on my nose that looks scalded, and he assures me will heal up just fine.  But more importantly, it can't develop into anything scary.

I cannot stress the importance of good quality sunscreen enough to people.  My kids hate wearing it, and it causes alot of fights.  You know the kind--me holding down a 180 lb boy and madly rubbing sunscreen on any exposed  skin I can reach :)  Oh, he wiggles, but I'm a strong (willed) mama.  But I digress...without large amounts of sunscreen, I'm sure I would have had more than one melanoma episode, and many more "spots" burned off my skin.  And my kiddos and siblings have a much higher risk factor, having had a 1st degree relative with a history of melanoma.

As my dermatologist says, I have lovely fair skin.  The kind that will always need to be checked.  Thank you to my Scottish and Irish ancestors who bequeathed me fair, fair skin, freckles, fair hair and green eyes.  I am a poster child for skin cancer risk.  Interestingly, my siblings both have dark hair, and although fair, tan much more easily than I.  Just lucky I guess. 

Anyone can get skin cancer.  Even those with darker skin.  So please wear sunscreen and get your doctor to check you head to toe for sun damage.  It's a common misconception that melanoma begins with a mole.  Well, yes it can, however mine had nothing to do with a mole.  I have freckles instead of moles.  It can start anywhere.  And it is the most lethal form of cancer.  Early detection is crucial.

There's also basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers.  They don't spread or metatasize as quickly or easily, but they need to be taken care of too.

There you have it.  My public service announcement for the day.  Wear sunscreen, get checked.  It's quite simple really.  And wear a hat.  I forgot to mention that one. 

1 comment:

Only in Louisiana ~ documenting the adventures we call Life! said...

Great advice...I wear sunscreen but need to go to the dermatologist...I guess that is not a doctor I think about going to see regularly! And living in the deep South, we are probably more subceptible then most people!