A few months ago I noticed a new spot on my hubby's forearm. I will preface this by saying that Derek has a lot of moles, some are fairly large. This one raised red flags because of the newness of it. It didn't really meet any of the criteria for melanoma from its general appearance, but after nearly 20 years with the big guy a new mark on his skin definitely caught my eye--and not in a good way. Unlike the rest of his light-colored moles this one was darker, more chocolate in color. It stood-out.
He made an appt. to see our PCP and our doctor didn't think it looked particularly dangerous (it was uniform in color, round, not raised), but removed it all the same and sent it in for testing--to be safe.
Good thing he did (and good thing I nagged my other half to have it examined). Turns out it's melanoma--the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
So Derek will be undergoing full treatment for the skin cancer, including more thorough removal of the lesion area and further tests to determine whether it had begun to spread and, if so, which lymph node(s) will will require removal. Scary shit, friends. He details the process further in a blog entry. Give it a read. This is serious stuff. Skin cancer is definitely not an issue of cosmetics. It's cancer...and includes all of the terrifying ramifications that go along with all forms of cancer.
Skin cancer is so preventable. I will openly admit that I have done some pretty jackassed things in the name of vanity. I have even done some 1-month tanning packages in the Spring, so that when warmer weather arrived I wouldn't blind everyone with my Nordic pastyness. I PAID to increase my risk for a deadly disease. Those days are long gone. Now we will be applying the highest and most sweat-resistant sunblocks available (I've been a big fan of that Coppertone sunblock at right--super easy to apply and seems pretty effective. Kept me from burning during many 4 hour marathon training runs during the past couple of years). I know that my own skin cancer-free days are likely numbered. My mom has had at least one spot removed on her back. I have long said that for me it's not a matter of 'if', but 'when'.
I'd just as soon avoid the facial aging issue, too. As a friend recently mentioned, at least those Twilight vampires have made fair skin fashionable, again. That Neutrogena sunblock for face is good. It doesn't irritate my skin, but I still avoid putting it above my eyes (I have yet to find a sunblock that doesn't sweat into my eyes and burn in a most godawful way) and instead always wear a hat or Headsweats head covering.
Don't forget the sunglasses, too. Melanomas can develop in, of all places, our eyes. This is in addition to cataracts caused by sun damage. I make a point of wearing sunglasses that wrap around my face well. I like photochromic lenses, since I can wear them on overcast days and still have UV protection for my eyes. It is rare that I will run without shades...it pretty much has to be raining for me to not have them on my face.