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Skin Cancer - why you should use SPF 9,000

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was diagnosed with a skin cancer just at the upper lip line. Luckily I was referred to a doctor who is an oncologist. dermatologist. plastic surgeon and he used a procedure called Mohs on me. It is fast and removes the least amount of tissue and then the repair leaves only a teensy scar. I mention this because we all are going to get some form of cancer if we live long enough and sometimes we avoid going to the doctor because we hate hearing bad news. But since I went right away it was a 100% cure and a great repair job. Next week I get to wear makeup again.

So please all you young beauties... wear sunblock. I am 50 , have been wearing sunblock since the early 70's and this skin cancer is probably from the days when I wore bain-de-soleil and baked on the roof of NYC buildings. I fully expect to find others as I get old and grey.
post #2 of 20
Being diagnosed must have been so scary. You were so smart to get to the Dr right away when you suspected a problem. It's terrific that you were able to find such a talented Dr and received such great care. Thank you for this alert for all of us.
post #3 of 20
I wear sunscreen religiously everyday
post #4 of 20
i live in really hot place and sunblock is a must have!
how did you know when to go to the doctor to check?
post #5 of 20
I agree with you Abigail. I too baked in the sun up until a few years ago! I'm now 49. Two years ago I had a small looking what I thought was a scratch right above my upper lip.I actually thought one of the cats scratched me in the night it was like a quater of a inch long.My siamese like to get under the covers and often they will scratch at the blankets which I have pulled right up to my neck and they want me to lift the covers up so they can get under them.So I thought it was a scratch. It went away then back again.This went on for months and dumb old me thought cats did it. My mom had the same type of thing on her nose. And it was skin cancer. So finally it dawned on me this must be skin cancer. So off to the docs I went.He did what they call a punch biopsy.It came back as skin cancer basel cell. The least dangerous and very slow growing.So he then had me come back and had to cut this small area out and stitch it up.The biopsy came back showing not all the margins where clear. but he said that usually just the small amount of tissue he took out should clear it all out when it heals.I had 4 stitches. So he suggested leaving it and keeping a close eye on it. Its been two years and all is ok. It left a small scar and my lip looks just a teeny bit pulled up on that side.Not noticeable unless I point it out.
So wear sun screen!!!!Stay out of tanning beds!
post #6 of 20
wearing sunscreen and/or staying out of the sun is a definite must, having a tan is not worth your life my grandmother died at age 59 from melanoma and my grandfather has also been diagnosed with the basal type, so I don't go in the sun at all! I read somewhere that going to the tanning booth just ONE TIME increases your chances of skin cancer by 150%
post #7 of 20
I work for the Canadian Cancer Society and we recomend a SPF of at least 15 but most people forget to re-apply ever 2-3 hours. And no, wareing an SPF of 30 dosn't mean you only have to re-apply every 4-6 hours, it's not math it's your life.
Skin cancer also isn't only caused by exposure to the sun, you can be genetically predisposed to it as you can be with many other types of cancer. We also recomend Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
post #8 of 20
Oh Im so glad you got it early enough!
I am still young and I have to admit I bake whenever I can. I have stopped using sun beds as I started to get pigmentation problems on my face (fixed now) and once had a lump removed from my thigh with precancerous cells in it (2 operations as they didn't get it all the first time). You'd think I would learn?
I do wear sunscrean on holiday but I don't apply it regularly enough and I end up burnt.
One day I will grow up but I am nowhere near as bad as I was. I would be interested to know what this cancer looked like? and how you knew to go to the doctors?
post #9 of 20
I agree... sunscreen is a must!
But also, remember to wear a hat when you go out in the sun! I have thick hair but I will still get a sunburn on my head if I don't wear a hat. (I can't see the burn, but I can sure feel it!) Now I have that says UPF 50+
post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by Sibohan2005 View Post
I work for the Canadian Cancer Society and we recomend a SPF of at least 15 but most people forget to re-apply ever 2-3 hours. And no, wareing an SPF of 30 dosn't mean you only have to re-apply every 4-6 hours, it's not math it's your life.
I've recently had *conversations* with my husband about sunscreen. Can you tell us exactly what the advantage is of wearing a higher spf? I thought 15 was as much as you could get... We ended up getting 60 for our trip to mexico. Is there any purpose to that?
post #11 of 20
SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93% of UVB rays. Sunscreen with SPF 30 and higher blocks 97% of UVB rays – SPF 30 is not twice as effective as SPF 15.

No Sunscreen can block all of the harmful rays of the sun.

All sunscreens are labelled with a sun protection factor (SPF) number. This relates to the amount of time it takes for your skin to burn without any protection and how long it would take if you used the appro­priate amount of sunscreen. An SPF 15 product filters out more than 93% of the UVB in sunlight allowing about 7% penetra­tion. An SPF 30 filters out 97% and allows 3% penetration. So an SPF of 30 is not twice as effective as a 15, but rather it blocks out about twice as much of the penetra­tion. Stated differently it allows only half the UV penetration.

The product should also contain ingredients that protect against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays which penetrate more deeply into the skin and are responsi­ble for premature aging and contribute to the development of skin cancer. Sunscreens that are labelled "broad-­ spectrum" help protect against both.
post #12 of 20
On CBS news last night they had a short piece on sunscreen and labeling. They mentioned that its a marketing tactic when the label says waterproof/sweatproof etc... You still need to re-apply. Doing landscaping I also learned the value of a SPF hat-not a baseball style hat-but with a wide brim (mine is about 5-6") all around. Yes I can look a bit dorky wearing it but I'd rather look goofy than risk not wearing one.
post #13 of 20
glad to hear they caught it early Abigail. ive worn sunscreen pretty much religiously since i was fifteen.. and i know i'm in the minority. i didnt have health issues in mind when i started at fifteen - rather, i liked the pale look, as pale as possible, and so i didnt want any sun to get to my skin at all. after a few months tho, of learning about sunscreen and skin cancer, and aging, i started to see that it was the healthy thing to do.

today i wear spf 60 everyday. EVERY day, rain or shine, whether im going to be outside five minutes or five hours. its just a good thing to get in the habit of. when its something you do only when you think you'll be in the sun a lot, its easy to forget, or to rationalize, telling yourself "ill only be out an hour, thats not long enough to put on suncreen", or "im only driving downtown, not like im walking on the beach". its better to just put it on everday regardless.

and if you cant be persuaded by health reasons, use vanity ones - im 34, and not to brag or say im all that, cos im not, but i do NOT look 34. i have almost no wrinkles..and it's purely from using sunscreen religiously since i was 15.

wear sunscreen, guys
post #14 of 20
The SPF is the number of times you multiply your normal skin protection by:

You do have to reapply it more often, but it's because it wears off.

My greatgrandmother died of skin cancer that spread up her spine to her brain because she wouldn't go to the doctor. My grandmother has had a couple dozen skin cancers removed as you described, Abigail. My mother had skin cancer when I was little.

Needless to say, I was slathered with spf 50 every hour at the pool when I was younger, I NEVER tan on purpose, and I wear sunscreen if I'm going outside for long. People make fun of me for being so pale, and I just say that I think being pale is prettier than being dead.
post #15 of 20
Thank you Abigail and GardenandCats for sharing your experiences.

As a child, I had several bad burns (only one as an adult, and I still haven't figured that out) - so I'm always cautious about the possiblity of skin cancer.

The reminder is always worthwhile.

I wish parasols would come back in fashion!
post #16 of 20
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
People make fun of me for being so pale, and I just say that I think being pale is prettier than being dead.
I've never understood what's so great about the tanned look.
post #17 of 20
My sister just completed treatment for early-stage CA on her face-was a die-hard sunworshipper/lifeguard for years-Fortunately the dr. said they caught it in time but every spot she gets is the cause for "nervous days" until she gets it checked out-She has a boat that is her "home" during the summer & is putting it for sale -says she can't control sun-exposure on the water even with hats,sunscreen & umbrellas -the risk is too great-As I told her rather have you here with us pale & healthy than the alternative.
post #18 of 20
I am 58 and haven't "tanned" since I was 19 and got a major case of sun poisoning from spending 6 hours a day for a week at the shore, slathereing with babyoil and iodine. Ever since then I get "poison" from the sun. Just like regular poison, it is red spots and it itches. So since the age of 19, I use sunscreen and sit under an umbrella when at the shore. Talk about white. I fear that this is too little too late. When I was a kid, I don't think they had sunscreen, or my mother never heard of them because my brother and I would always get burned and then spend the next weeks peeling the skin off each other. I get screened by a dermatotlogist yearly.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
what did it look like? At first I thought it was a little pimple. A small 2mm colorless bump... but it did not go away so I went to the skin doctor saying it looked like nothng I had ever had and he removed it and biopsied it.

within a week i was at the skin cancer doc.
I agree that sun block is not all the answer. I always wear a hat outdoors and keep covered at the beach. And sunglasses are really important because UV rays hasten the development of cataracts. Even children should wear sunglasses --- the kind that darken and lighten on their own so they don't lose them.

and tanning beds are the worst my doc says, people are lulled into thinking they are getting a measured dose. but any darkening of the skin is sun damage and in time you will pay the price.
post #20 of 20
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
People make fun of me for being so pale, and I just say that I think being pale is prettier than being dead.
Same with me...I've even had Goth people wish they could get as pale as I am.

Anyhoo, glad to hear that you will have a small scar when you're done. I totally understand the whole sunscreen thing.

When I was 21 I was diagnosed with having dysplastic moles...they're the pre-cursor of melonoma and I have to watch them for changes constantly. Once one changes I have to go and get it removed. I already have a 25% chance of skin cancer

Plus being so pale, I have to wear SPF 40. SPF15 use to be OK, but now I burn with 15. SPF 40 blocks out most of the sun for me. I know I know, it's because of how often I need to reapply it. But growing up I wasn't taught properly about SPF, my mom came from the generation where you didn't worry about sunscreen. I'm getting better at remembering, but I'm so glad that most moisturizers and such come with SOMETHING in them to help block the sun.
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