With the switchover to Daylight Savings Time, we are experiencing more sun exposure over the next 6 months. Being active RVers, we enjoy the great outdoors. That’s how we roll. Learning how to properly protect our skin is extremely important, as well as learning how the sun damages our skin.
Remember when we were in our teens and 20’s? There was no sunscreen. We got sunburned over and over and over in an attempt to get that beautiful tan. That’s when the damage really started. Isn’t it ironic that tanning is the fastest way for our skin to become wrinkled and leathery? But it happens so slowly, we don’t really notice it until it’s almost too late to do anything about.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, but it can be deadly. Unlike other forms of cancer, skin cancer can be easily detected since it is on the skin’s surface. Everyone should do a simple thorough self-examination of their own skin every few months. It only takes a few minutes and it will help you “learn” your skin so when new growths appear or old growths change in color, shape or texture, you’ll be able to tell your dermatologist. Yes, especially as we age, it is even more important to have a dermatologist check us out at least once a year. I go several times a year and get zapped with liquid nitrogen on a dozen or more suspicious looking growths. Liquid nitrogen freezes and kills the abnormal cells. It’s painless, just stings a little bit. This photo is a basal cell carcinoma to show you how insignificant they can look. They’re too easy to ignore. We need to pay attention to our skins.
Then I’ve had several bouts with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, all of which were eradicated successfully. And that’s because my dermatologist and I took care of them early. Without treatment, basal cell carcinoma can progress into squamous cell carcinoma and then develop into melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. A few years ago, my brother had a little black dot of a growth on his knee and my sister said, “You better have that looked at.” He balked, but he did. It was melanoma, but with early detection, it was successfully treated.
For more information, visit www.skincancer.org. It can make all the difference.