I can remember going to the skin doctor when I was in my early 50s. I checked out okay except that the doctor thought there was a small area on my left shoulder that look suspicious for skin cancer. The doctor wanted to be sure, so he did a biopsy of the questionable area. The area was 1/2-inch. The doctor put a very small amount of numbing solution into the surrounding area and then cut the area out. This was on the top of the first layer of skin, so he did not have to go deep.
The doctor then used one stitch and he was finished. I felt no discomfort before, during or after the procedure. The biopsy took a few days, and when cancer of any kind is in question, it does become a bit unnerving. In a few days the biopsy came back negative for cancer. The doctor suggested I have my skin checked every year. I am always nervous a bit until the report is negative from the doctor.
One day while my husband was getting dressed, I noticed an odd mole on his back. We made an appointment with my doctor and the doctor checked his skin and also took a biopsy of this mole. This turned out to be cancer and the doctor had removed it all when he did the biopsy. The doctor told my husband that if one has to have skin cancer, this was the best kind, as this cancer does not grow quickly and is the less invasive of skin cancers.
My husband goes for a skin check every year and so far has been negative for any further cancers. The doctor asked us if we ever had a severe sunburn. I had not. However, my husband and children did at one time spend too much time at the beach and received large sunburn blisters on their shoulders. This was painful and so bad that they had to spend time in the shade or inside for the remainder of their vacation. Sunburns such as this dramatically increase the chances of skin cancer.
Having been a nurse for over 40 years made me more alert to suspicious skin spots and moles. We had a summer home in Florida for several years and spent a lot of time in the sun at Clearwater Beach. My husband and I and three kids have had our share of sunburns. This was when skin cancer and the sun were not a concern.
The last few years that we had our house in Florida, it seemed as though more skin cancer clinics rose throughout Florida. We were on the West Coast or the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida and every few miles along Highway-19, we noticed new cancer clinics being built.
Our skin doctor in our home state warned us not to spend a lot of time in the sun and if we had to be in the sun be sure to cover our skin with long sleeves and slacks and wear a hat to help protect our head and face. Years ago, we paid no attention to these warnings because we felt we would never get skin cancer. When I was young, I got the idea I was invincible and immune to anything bad as far as disease, illness and especially cancer. These things happen to other people and not my family or me.
Neither my husband nor I had to go through any special treatment for skin cancer. We were among the lucky people. Although we still go every year to have a skin check. The biggest struggle for me dealing with possible skin cancer was the stages that one naturally goes through when the doctor announces a cancer diagnosis or possible cancer diagnosis.
As I grew older, my outlook on life changed and I gradually became more aware of the fact that I am just as prone to disease, illnesses and cancer as other people are. We listen to the doctor and do as he says. My husband and I cover our skin with sun lotion with a high SPF when we are outside and then we cover our skin with clothing. We wear hats on hour heads and sun lotion on our face. We also limit our time in the sun or try to do outside work when the sun has gone down or early in the morning before the sun reaches its peak.
We no longer have our home in Florida for reasons other than the hot sun. However, when I think of all the skin cancer clinics that have sprung up in Florida over the years, it makes sense that millions of people are contacting skin cancer every year. Basal and squamous cell non-melanoma skin cancers are the easiest to treat, as they do not generally spread to other parts of the body. These cancers are present on the outer layer of skin. These types of skin cancer show up on the skin of the face, neck, lips ears and backs of the hands. Melanoma skin cancer is the most serious.