Listen to me. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
I am a 30-something, fair-skinned, mole- and freckle-covered, former tan-addict, once-a-year accidental sunburner, beach and sun-loving woman… who just discovered she has skin cancer.
The biopsy done on my face last month: basal cell carcinoma.
Thankfully, it’s the most common and treatable type of skin cancer. I will be having MOHs surgery later this month to remove everything, with hopefully minimal scarring or disfiguring or concern for the cancer spreading. The sobering news has been a HUGE wake-up call to me. Naturally, I’ve been feeling a lot of emotions over finding out — most of which, stupidity that I could have done more when I was younger to help prevent this. Last year, I had a semi-scare, with my doctor removing two flat little freckles (not cancerous, but concerning enough to be biopsied). One of which was underneath my butt cheek. For real. My face, for whatever reason, feels REALLY personal. I have to see it every day. Underneath my rear end, it’s easy to forget the warnings.
Serious time. Listen to the advice of the experts: USE SUNSCREEN. Don’t just rely on makeup SPF. STOP TANNING. No really, not even the one before your wedding or vacation or whatever dumb excuse of an event to be tan. Get your annual screening.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and I need to emphasize how important it is to regularly see a dermatologist and raise your awareness of skin cancer warning signs. Rite Aid and the Skin Cancer Foundation are hosting the Road to Healthy Skin Tour (in its sixth year!), which be making its way across the country throughout the summer. Full-body skin exams are conducted on a first come, first served basis available to the public. Check the Tour Schedule for locations in your area.
Check out skincancer.org for everything you need to know about the signs of skin cancer, early detection and prevention, treatments and references for dermatologists in your community.
While you’re at it, take this Skin Quiz to inform you of your risk.