One of the sections in my upcoming pocket guidebook, “Xs and Os of Sun Awareness and Sun Protection.”
SECTION SIX: SKIN CANCER
If you do get skin cancer, you lose the momentum in your skin health.
Are you a typical American and do not wear sunscreen daily? 80% of Americans do not wear it daily. 10 You may also be one of five to get skin cancer during your lifetime. 11
Daily use of sun protection and annual skin exams by a dermatologist decreases your risk of skin cancer by 50%. 10
Over 90% of skin cancer are developed on the face, neck, ears, arms and hands. 3 If you apply sun protection to those areas daily you gain momentum for radiant skin.
Skin cancers are diagnosed as three types – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – second and short:
It may start as a red patch or shiny bump that is pink, red or white. It is most commonly found on the face, ears, nose and around the mouth. The patch or bump may flake or have an open sore that does not heal or disappear. BCC accounts for approximately 75 to 80% of all skin cancers. It is a better down position to be in if you are diagnosed with BCC, the most common skin cancer.
My skin cancer was BCC on my left shoulder. There is a one and half inch scar. Sometimes it gets mistaken for a scar from shoulder surgery.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – third and long:
It usually appears as a scaly patch or raised warty growth. SCC accounts for approximately 16 to 20% of all skin cancers.
Both basal cell and squamous cells can be removed easily when detected early.
Melanoma – fourth down:
It frequently is a dark brown or black mole. There are 5 distinct physical characteristics to help identify melanoma:
- Border is irregular
- Color is dark or a variety of colors
- Diameter is more than the size of a pencil eraser
- Evolving—any new change such as bleeding, itching or crusting 3
The above will help you remember your ABCDEs for recognizing melanoma.
Melanoma accounts for approximately 4 to 6% of all skin cancers. It can appear anywhere on the body. If found early, it can be cured. If not, melanoma spreads internally and can be fatal. 1
It is a game of field position with skin health. The more first downs you gain the more momentum you have on the field. Wear sun protection daily!