SKIN – THE LARGEST ORGAN ON YOUR BODY
As you can see by this picture taken on my 60th birthday in 2012, I love the sun and I love being tan. Thankfully, most of my tan is a combo of very rare exposure to sun slathered in sun screen and some high quality spray on tanner. But, that’s not how I always went for that California glow I grew up to adore. Too many years from ten to forty, I roasted in the sun for hours.
Just after that birthday, I decided to visit my dermatologist since my 85 year-old dad had two malignant melanoma lesions within two years. She found my first skin cancer lesion – fortunately nothing serious, a squamous cell carcinoma that she removed with very little scaring and no pain. I learned an important fact. Once you’ve had one skin cancer, you are 8 times more likely to get another in the next couple years. So, I began quarterly check ups for the next year. One year later, I had a basal cell carcinoma. Again – not life threatening. However, this time I had to have a one inch incision in my shoulder to get enough margin to remove any cancer cells. The quarterly checkups would continue for another year.
Today – now three years later, I visited my dermatologist. I had a pre-cancer spot on my chest she treated with liquid nitrogen and a mole on my back getting slightly dark that concerned her. That’s off to pathology and I’ll hear back in a week or so.
SO! What about you? Are you scanning your skin from head to toe every month with the help of your husband or a close friend? Are you seeing a dermatologist for anything the least bit suspicious? And by the way – what you may think is nothing – may be something to an expert. Here are a few facts below provided by www.skincancer.org that I hope will motivate you to take action and be diligent about your skin inspections!
What is your experience with skin cancer? Feel free to share in comments below!
ACCORDING TO SKINCANCER.ORG
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- 40 to 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once.
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.10
- One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 54 minutes).
- An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017.
- An estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017.
- Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.2
- The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 69 percent risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40.
- Individuals who have used tanning beds 10 or more times in their lives have a 34 percent increased risk of developing melanoma compared to those who have never used tanning beds.
- People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.