One of my blogging buddies, loisajay (I know many of you are already acquainted with her blog, …on pets and prisoners…) has been fighting skin cancer since the beginning of the year. Or longer. She’s had multiple surgeries, tons of chemo, and a few other treatments I don’t know enough about to describe. It’s been icky.
If you’ve spent any time in the sun, you need to know about skin cancer. Here’s why: skin cancer can grow inside you without developing too much evidence on your skin. If you’ve had any sort of procedure for skin cancer, even if you didn’t require additional treatment, such as chemotherapy, you are at risk for that cancer spreading anywhere in your body.
I am not a medical expert, so I went to a few well-established medical sites to get some solid information, such as the Mayo Clinic site and the American Cancer Society site. I encourage you to take a look (for both sites I looked up and linked to the information on melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.)
Here’s a direct quote from the Mayo Clinic site:
The first melanoma signs and symptoms often are:
- A change in an existing mole
- The development of a new pigmented or unusual-looking growth on your skin
Melanoma doesn’t always begin as a mole. It can also occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin.
Why is this important? Because women and men my age grew up in an era where worshipping the sun, and getting as tan as possible, ruled. Today, many are paying the price. It’s high, especially if it’s melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is a less common, but more serious cancer than most skin cancers.
Apparently, the risk is increasing in people under 40 as well, especially women. Tanning isn’t the only culprit, but that does greatly increase your chances of getting skin cancer.
I don’t want to scare you unnecessarily, but I do want you to be aware of this risk. If you spent hours cultivating a tan as a teenager (or any other time in your life), check with your doctor about your risk factor and what you should be doing now to stay ahead of this disease.
I’m thrilled to say Lois had made remarkable progress in her battle against melanoma. I just wish she’d never had to face it in the first place.