A recent Rotary meeting featured an enlightening presentation on skin cancer, highlighting the three main types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The primary culprit behind these cancers is ultraviolet (UV) light, which we’re exposed to from the sun and some tanning booths. It’s important to note that UV rays can penetrate clouds even on overcast days.

This topic has become personally relevant to me. For several months, I had a persistent small sore on my lower lip. After unsuccessful treatments with antibiotics and antiviral medications, I was referred to a dermatologist who performed a biopsy. The results confirmed a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. I’m now scheduled for a consultation with a dermatologist specializing in Mohs surgery

Why am I sharing this experience? Because skin cancers are largely preventable through proper protection. Using sunblock and covering up with appropriate clothing are crucial preventive measures. As a fair-skinned sailor of many years, I’ve always been cautious, using sunblock and staying under a Bimini on my sailboat as much as possible. However, despite our best efforts, age can work against us when it comes to skin cancer. Damage to the skin can occur over a long period, so it’s essential to remain vigilant.

The key takeaway is this: be aware, take care, and protect your skin as much as possible. Regular skin checks and prompt attention to any unusual changes can make a significant difference in early detection and treatment of skin cancer.