Thursday, May 05, 2005

Remember the sunscreen!

I am posting this again to remind everyone of the dangers of tanning. I am not suggesting that we should all be ghostly white, just remember: everything in moderation. And please remember to wear sunscreen! (By the way, I just had another check-up and I am clear, for now.)

I am living proof that the sun causes skin cancer. It can happen to you too.

Let me back up a little bit. Last summer, June to be exact, I went to a dermatologist for the first time ever. I was there to have him look at a bump on my back that had been there for years, but my husband told me it seemed larger. While I was in the office, I told the nurse that as long as I was there I had a red spot on my chest that he might want to look at. I honestly did not think much of it. The spot was maybe the size of a dime, irregular edges, slightly raised. I really thought it was a rash or irritation, except it had been there for a while. (OK, years.) Turns out the bump on my back was nothing, but the spot on my chest was skin cancer. He removed it on another visit. The next month when I went in for a check-up, he removed another from my shoulder. Fast forward to today, six months later. I was back for another check-up. He had told me at my last visit 3 months ago that if I was clear on this visit, I could go to every 6 months for check-ups. You guessed it: I found another spot a couple of days ago, right beside the first one.

Sun block, sun block, sun block. I was a fair skinned, freckle prone kid who did not believe in sun block. So for many summers in my youth I burned then tanned every year. I practically lived at the Camden Country Club swimming pool. I loved having a tan. We all look better with a tan, right? I was one of those crazy people who used baby oil to improve my chances for a great tan. Brilliant, huh? Now I am paying for it, I guess.

Protect yourself, but especially protect your children. I am convinced the cancer that is showing up on me now was caused by damage 20+ years ago.

4 comments:

That Girl said...

We recently did a TV show at the hospital on skin cancer and it is a very scary thing. My dad was diagnosed with melanoma and I'm a very fair-skinned blonde. I try to keep a close watch. Keep up your exams!

SG said...

I share your pale skin and past of tanning. I try to slather us all down regularly! Talk to you soon!

Jenni said...

Thanks for the reminder. I tend to forget that skin cancer runs in my family. My mom and sister are both really good about putting on sunblock every day - I'm doing good to remember it when I am purposefully going to be in the pool and very rarely other times that I am outside. I need the reminder. Thanks.

elizabeth said...

Thanks for the post. My grandmother had skin cancer and so did my dad.

He had a horrible outbreak of poison ivy about 20 years ago on his back. He went into the doctor's office and they couldn't believe how many moles he had on his back (thank you to the navy and to being a life guard.)

Sure enough, one of them was cancerous and he has to go the dermatologist quite a bit. Thank you poison ivy for saving my dad's life!

My sister, brother, and I have had precancerous moles taken off, so we all have to watch it.

Another benefit to staying out of the sun is having beautiful skin. My mother has never tanned and she looks much younger than she is.