By Cathy Perkins
I’m taking a detour from our usual discussions about writing and books with a more personal note. I had a spot removed yesterday.
Perhaps I should back up a bit. I was the blue-eyed blonde in a family full of dark-eyed, dark-haired people. We spent a lot of time outside as a family. They got lovely suntans. I got burned.
Fast-forward many years and that sun-damaged skin has a nasty habit of turning into skin cancer. Of course, all skin types can get cancer. And sunscreen—if you put it on—is your best prevention friend.
Most skin cancers fall into the “no big deal” category. Many can be zapped with liquid nitrogen. But as you work your way up (down?) the scale on the various cancers, things can get sketchier. A bit more on that later.
Mohs surgery is the preferred technique for dealing with the cancer. Basically, the surgeon takes a scoop of tissue, then examines it as a series of slices. If the lowest slice still shows cancer cells, the process is repeated until the margins are clear. With a simple procedure, you’re done in one. Hearing the surgeon say, “We’re scraping this sample off your skull” can be a game changer. (It was clear. Thanks for asking.)
I won’t make you look at sobering pictures of tumors or disfigurements. You can Google those. In fact, go here for lots of technical, understandable information.
Bottom line? Ignoring “that weird spot” won’t make it go away. Instead it can give an aggressive tumor too much time to spread. While the surgeons are great at hiding scars and replacing bits and pieces of features, consider this National Check Yourself Out day. Here’s how.
Basal and squamous are the most common types of cancer, but the nastiest form is melanoma. With all of them, early detection is the key. With melanoma, it’s as simple as A-B-C. With a D-E occasionally thrown in.
A – Asymmetry. One half isn’t like the other.
B – Border. The edges aren’t smooth.
C – Color. There can be a variety of colors in the spot, tan, brown, black or maybe a little blue or red thrown in.
D – Diameter. Anything larger than a pencil eraser should be looked at.
E – Evolving. A mole or lesion that changes over time.
But you’re going to look for ALL the spots that weren’t there before, right?
Last day of the special new release pricing!