As a paramedic, I responded to calls that were not necessarily life threatening, but the patients were too ill, in pain or scared to try to get to a hospital on their own. An example of this is skin cancer, which can look like a wound that will not heal and increases in size over time. The decaying tissues can leak plasma, which looks awful. An additional problem is that the open wound is a magnet for infection. A patient who has both skin cancer and a systemic infection can be too ill and in enough pain to call for EMS.
The best way to deal with skin cancer is to prevent it. Speaking with a family doctor can help a person develop a personal routine for prevention, as some skin types are more susceptible than others. Different websites have information for all skin types. People of all ages and both genders need to work towards skin cancer prevention. The CDC recommends that during the height of UV, or ultra violet solar rays, people seek shade and try to avoid exposure. UV levels depend on the person’s location and the time of day.
I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in 2011. I asked my oncologist about using sunblock and what level he would recommend; I was confused by stories in the media and different websites recommending everything from SPF 15 to “anything over SPF 30.” He told me to use the highest number I could find and reapply it every two hours, even under makeup. This means I have to wash, removing my makeup, reapply the block and redo makeup every two hours. It’s really not that bad; in San Antonio, TX, the summer sun produces a lot of sweat, so following his advice means I look fresh throughout the day. I use SPF 110 sunblock, which is available from different manufacturers.
A personal UV monitor is a handy tool; it will tell you the level of UV exposure you are experiencing. Using the UV index scale, you can program your monitor with your skin type and the strength of block you’re using.
By protecting your skin from too much UV exposure, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of avoiding skin cancer. You could also look younger as well.