Skin Cancer Sucks
Sun exposure has significantly increased due to gardening, lake visits, pool openings etc. All of these things are very exciting and people look forward to them each year. Nothing is ‘bad’ about this except that it somehow gives people carte blanche to not protect their skin. If is critically important, if you want to avoid the potential for skin cancer, to use sunscreen with the appropriate Sun Protection Factor (SPF). We recommend SPF 30 daily to all exposed body parts and hourly when outdoors.
Let’s review some facts. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Let that sink in for a minute or two. Wow. When a person gets skin cancer, their quality of life (QOL) diminishes significantly. A recent study suggested that the QOL after a skin cancer (non-melanoma type) was much worse than testicular cancer and on par with receiving the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Plus, once you have one skin cancer, the risk of getting another one is between 50-60% over the next 5-10 years, thus requiring monitoring once or twice a year. One person dies hourly in the USA because of melanoma. And, thanks to the tanning bed craze, the rates of melanoma are increasing.
Now the good news! You can control whether you want to participate with these statistics! Just by wearing sunscreen daily you decrease your risk of melanoma by 80%. I have been advising people to consider a simple approach: wear sunscreen daily, look at your skin monthly (for changing moles, new moles etc), get a skin exam yearly (on your birthday so we can look at your birthday suit – from a medical perspective!).
One thing that continually blows me away is that we have an elegant cream or lotion that we can put on daily to make our skin healthy and prevent skin cancer. A CREAM THAT STOPS CANCER! This is a great time to be alive. As I tell patients, it is the best time in the history of ever to get better skin for a better life® So starting today, let’s consider it our duty to care for our skin (our largest organ) in this fashion so we don’t have these cancers and can be a solution vs a statistic. As always, wishing you better skin for a better life®!
Brian Matthys, DO