The Skin You’re In
By Jordan Dent
You’re at the doctor’s waiting for your test results because your skin wasn’t looking or feeling normal. The doctor comes in with your results and says, “I’m sorry, but you have skin cancer.” All kinds of thoughts run through your mind, “What is skin cancer? What does this mean for me? Am I going to die? How could I have prevented this?”
Skin cancer is a form of cancer and can occur in three different forms, experts said. The two most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carnimonas, and are highly curable. The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma which is caused by ultraviolet light from the sun.
Melanoma can affect people younger than 30 years old and as old as 80. It can affect all, but is more common in white Americans than in African Americans, experts said. If detected early, before the tumor gets into the skin, the survival rate of melanoma is 97 percent. However, if it goes undetected and the tumor gets into the skin, the survival rate drops significantly to 15 percent.
Skin cancer can be detected not only by doctors, but by patients as well, experts said. Who would know your body more than you? If you notice any change on your skin, a change in sensation, tenderness, itchiness, pain, or oozing, bleeding, scale like texture in a bump or nodule, then you should contact your doctor to get tested for skin cancer. Even if the test comes back negative, you have taken the necessary steps to help prevent skin cancer.
May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention month. It is recommended that you take the following necessary precautions to prevent skin cancer:
- Stand in the shade, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use sunscreen lotion with an SPF 15 or higher every day
- Avoid tanning and tanning booths
- Cover your skin, including wearing a brim hat and UV sunglasses
- See your physician for annual check-ups
Go into summer well prepared and ready to take on the sun. Be sure to protect the skin you’re in.