We love to brag to our children about the carefree days of our youth. We spent hours riding our bicycles around town, sometimes not stopping for lunch and instead making a quick sandwich at our friend’s house. Long afternoons at the public swimming pool, only getting out of water for the mandatory rest breaks every couple of hours. Early evenings playing a game of pick up basketball at the school playground. Even longer evenings playing ding, dong, ditch with friends after it got dark.
Those were the days. Or, were they?
Many of the memories that we love to recreate for our children were sometimes days when we failed to take care of ourselves, especially our skin. Without knowledge of the damage that extended time in the sun could do to our skin, we spent those long daylight hours with our skin unprotected. Sometimes we even added those infamous made-for-the-astronauts tanning blankets and a thick coat of baby oil to the mix. Returning from the pool with skin shiny with baby oil and hair smelling of lemon juice, we were often stuck inside for the rest of the week while our sunburnt skin first blistered and then peeled. Promising that we would not use the baby oil the next time, we were back at the pool a few days later, likely burning the tender new layer of skin on our shoulders.
If We Only Knew Then What We Know Now
Many adults who grew up never using sunscreen find themselves more particular about how they monitor their children’s time in the sun. It just takes one treatment of skin cancer to understand that skin is something that needs to be protected any time that it is out in the sun. Even winter sun exposure can be dangerous as reflective rays age skin at the very least, and cause skin cancer at the very worst.
While some patients find themselves in an appointment to ask a dermatologist about another cosmetic concern like best spider vein treatment options, we instead find that we have even more pressing issues to address. Before you find yourself seeking treatment of skin cancer, make sure you watch for early signs that can help avoid need for treatment of skin cancer later:
- Pay attention to any new moles or growths.
- Monitor any existing growths or moles that begin to look bigger or change in any other way.
- An asymmetrical mole can be an indicator of a problem.
- Count your moles. A person who has more than 50 is at a greater risk of melanoma.
- The borders of worrisome moles tend to be uneven, some can be notched or jagged on just one side.
- Moles that are larger than the eraser on a pencil should be checked out.
- Notice and pay special attention to any mole that looks significantly different from the rest of your moles.
Dermatologists recommend that anyone concerned with skin cancer make and keep appointments early in life. By getting an initial examination of your skin, specialists will have something to compare with any time you return. While self monitoring can be beneficial, even more important is making an appointment to see a licensed dermatologist.
While nearly 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis and seek treatment for that uncomfortable and unattractive condition, many more ignore dangerous indicators of skin cancer. Fear of a diagnosis is certainly no reason to avoid seeing a specialist. In fact, if you are afraid, that is all the more reason to seek advice. Many types of skin cancer are successfully treated, especially if they are caught early. Treatment of skin cancer can be very successful, but only if the condition is diagnosed.
What Is It Like When Your Children Head Outside?
Hey, Mom, I’m heading out on my bike! See ‘ya later!
Make sure you wear your helmet and put on some sunscreen!
I might not be home for lunch. We’ll just stop at grab something to munch on at Alex’s house.
Fine. I’ll call Alex’s mom and tell her to make sure you guys get more sunscreen and that she tells you to wear helmets.
After lunch we are heading to the pool for the rest of the day. Don’t worry, I always remember the sunscreen when I am at the pool.