Skin Cancer Diagnosis
I have said several times already, but 2014 was our worst year yet. It ended on an even worse note when a routine dermatologist appointment turned into something much more serious. We received a call that two spots Colby had removed for a biopsy came back as skin cancer. If you aren’t familiar or know much about skin cancer I wanted to share some facts that I got from this dermatology website:
- More than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States annually.
- Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. It is estimated that one in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime.
- Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common forms of skin cancer, but are easily treated if detected early.
- The major risk factor for melanoma of the skin is exposure to ultraviolet light. Avoiding this risk factor alone could prevent more than 3 million cases of skin cancer every year.
- In 2010, new research found that daily sunscreen use cut the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in half.
- Increasing intermittent sun exposure in childhood and during one’s lifetime is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
If you want to learn more, there is a more extensive list on their website. The reason I share this is not to bring fear to anyone. The Lord NEVER speaks through fear, but consider this your PSA! The two spots Colby had did not look suspicious AT all. Actually, nothing looked abnormal. But, for us going to the dermatologist is just like going to the dentist. It’s routine and we do both 2x/year.
We are thankful that Colby’s wasn’t melanoma. He had one basal cell and one squama cell. Since it was Christmas, then New Years, then he headed to Georgia for a few weeks for work, it delayed his surgery. However, he had surgery on both spots and the doctors were able to remove all the cancer. Interestingly enough, we were given 3 options. But, two of those – radiation and a topical cream – were immediately dismissed as they can negatively impact fertility.
I hope this encourages one person to get their skin checked!! Find a dermatologist who is very thorough. Ours writes down every mole and measures everything on our body, even taking pictures at times. The good thing about skin cancer is when it’s caught earlier, the survival rate is super high. But, what if we hadn’t been getting checked? What if we hadn’t caught this until months or years down the line? We don’t know what the outcome would be, but I can tell you we are glad we take one hour twice a year to go get scans!!!
If you have any questions or if you are looking for a dermatologist in the North Texas area I would love to help! Please whatever you do – wear sunscreen and put it on your kids too! The website above or the image below gives great info so please take time to make yourself aware of all the facts!