This past Saturday was an extra beautiful day here in Florida. The sun was shining, and there was not a cloud in the sky. There was a soft and gentle breeze calling out to me, which became irresistible, and I had to answer its call! However, I do err on the side of caution, with good reason. More than 1 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year; and the vast majority can blame it on that big ball of fire in the sky! I do not plan on being included in these statistics.
On any given day, whether I go outside for a few minutes, or a few hours, I always use a sunscreen. First of all, I use a sunscreen that is gentle to my facial skin, and I always use a balm with at least 15 SPF for my lips. It only took one time, but my lips actually got pretty burnt one year. Other than that, I wear a minimum of a 30 SPF water-proof spray on my body, and I always wear my sunglasses and hat. Have you ever tried sun-screen sprays? They are great! You do not have to rely upon someone else to get those unreachable places! WooHoo!
Well, as I was saying, this past Saturday was no exception! I ended up outside enjoying the sun, and chatting with a neighbor over the fence line about her horses and pets. She almost immediately started talking about the skin cancer that she had removed from the bridge of her nose. Now, I admit that I DID notice that she looked like she had been punched in the nose, but of course, I did not ask, I just pretended that I didn’t notice (but you could tell that she was uncomfortable with her appearance and recent visit to the dermatologist).
So, that got me thinking. Would I recognize skin cancer if I had it? I was not sure, so I hit the Internet and went looking for these answers. Here is the best answer that I found.
When looking for potential problems, remember the ABCD‘s of skin cancer: Asymmetrical shape; Border that is irregular; Color that is uneven or multiple colors; and Diameter that has changed.
There are three basic types of skin cancer:
- Actinic Keratosis: A crusty or scaly spot that can become cancer.
- Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinomas: common types of skin cancer that often appear on sun-exposed areas such as the face, arms or neck (this is what my neighbor had).
- Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer, which can arise on any part of the body.
Most skin cancers are easily avoidable; by using a strong sun screen frequently throughout your exposure. And this should not be limited to just you. How about your children or your pets? Another way to keep the doctor away is to be healthier. You see, your immune system is designed to attack, neutralize and eliminate substances that do not belong in a healthy body. This includes skin cancer. A strong and smooth-running immune system is your most powerful frontline defense against viruses, bacteria, carcinogens and a host of other toxic or harmful threats to your health. By including a supplement to your diet that has powerful antioxidants, you can help bring your immune system up to par so that it works for you and your body.
However, if you suspect that you may have any of these ABCDs, get to your dermatologist right away! They can usually remove these spots right there in their office with local anesthesia. Then, work on getting immune system back in shape!