I guess I am a dreamer! Why am I writing this article? I always hoped that one day I could write about skin cancer as something that took place in the past; a complete cure would have been discovered for all skin cancers! But no, melanoma and skin cancer are still extremely important topics.
One of the reasons is there is a hole in the ozone layer. Can’t someone just take a needle and thread and darn it like a sock? Wish they could. But really couldn’t more be done to close that hole? We have scientists for everything, what about for the chlorofluorocarbons CFCs which are partially responsible for the hole? Is enough money being spent toward this research?
How about increased research into easier detection and genetic disposition to skin cancer? My doctor has a little machine, like a computer mouse, that he checks to see if a new spot needs to be biopsied for skin cancer.
Why not a full size machine that you can enter to detect skin cancers. It would be easier than your dermatologist having to go thoroughly over your body. We also have blood test for other diseases, why can’t we have a blood test for melanoma, or if you have a genetic susceptibility to it?
I read that people now receive more sun as they have increased vacation time. However, previously more people worked on farms and in the outdoors. Many were dark skinned and not as susceptible to skin cancer. BUT THEY STILL CAN GET SKIN CANCER!
Drug companies have capitalized on products to protect your skin. There are now an abundance of products on the market to place on your skin and ways to stay covered in the sun. I refuse to listen to excuses. Vacation spots are beginning to advertise skin protection but not enough.
Bathing attire is scanty; encourage sun resistant cover-ups. Create more inexpensive clothes that are fashionable and sun protective. Large brim hats are great. If you don’t want your hat to blow away in the wind, place Velcro around the inside brim. It works, but your hair may be slightly messed.
Every beach needs to have umbrellas and shaded areas; charge a nominal fee if necessary. Create local tax incentives to encourage this.
Give tax breaks to encourage more awnings on storefronts. Remember the awnings your local storekeeper rolled up each night? When we lived on Long Island, we had SPF shade protected awnings on our patios. Why aren’t all public decks and patios required to have shade awnings?
Shopping centers should have covered walkways. Malls and buildings that are now built need to be required to be built with sun protection entrances. Encourage tax incentives!
A dermatologist told me sunrays are also reflected from cement, sand and water. During the summer months, I try to secure parking spots close to a building. Walking is healthy! BUT NOT IN THE BRIGHT SUN.
So let’s become creative, imaginative:
The magnificent Green Cay Nature Preserve is an extremely beautiful place to walk but why aren’t there more shade trees surrounding it? It has a wood boardwalk, which benefits your exercise.
Why does it close at dusk? Couldn’t we have a few nights not only for people who cannot be in the sun, but for everyone to enjoy the natural surroundings? More lights would probably be needed; charge a nominal fee; secure yearly passes. Perhaps even a restaurant to dine?
There are several Nature Preserves that could encourage walking without having to be in the bright sun. The boardwalks up north are heavily utilized every evening. They do have security persons riding bicycles and some walks have cameras.
It makes no sense for Florida, with a high rate of skin cancer to close their walks at dusk! Governor Scott and local council-persons are you hearing me? Let us secure yearly cards, for a nominal fee, to use the fabulous facilities in the evenings.
I refuse to listen to the reasons why there is so much skin cancer; I want to hear about what South Florida is doing to alleviate the problem. I want to hear more about how science is aiding in correcting the situation without just advertising more products on the market.
But for now, remember these rules:
1. Have a semi-annual complete body check up by a board certified dermatologist. Keep a record of the date; make your next appointment before you leave the office.
2. Before you go for your examination, check your skin. Take note of any new marks. A good way is after your shower carefully go over your skin using a mirror! I ‘circle in’ with a magic marker what I want him to especially check, when he does my complete body scan. Make a list!
3. Your self-examination should be done at least once a month. If you find a new mark and it does not clear up see your dermatologist before your six month scheduled visit. DO NOT WAIT THE 6 MONTHS!
4. Make sure all biopsies are sent to dermatologic labs. Ask where it is being sent!
5. Check! If you do not receive the results in approximately 2 weeks CALL! You want a written lab report. A MUST - mistakes are made. I once received someone’s report for their forehead when it was my arm that had the biopsy!
6. When you go outdoors make sure you apply sunscreen with at least an SPF 30. Apply liberally to the back of the neck, top of your hands, behind your knees, and top of your feet if you are wearing sandals. Reapply after 2-3 hours or if you go into the water.
7. Always Sit in the shade, not in direct sun.
8. Wear a large brimmed hat. If you are playing tennis, wear a shield for the back of your neck. Wear sun protective tennis gloves. Use gloves also for driving as the rays come through the car windows, especially in the hot summer days.
9. Wear clothing with SP rating tags on them. now sold in many stores.
10. REMEMBER: Check your skin regularly.
The sun is to be enjoyed. It is healthy! Just be careful- You would not stand in front of an automobile yet you enjoy driving in the car!
So play, but do not stay in the sun!
Copyright Notice 2011 Babette Freed All Rights Reserved