Date of Diagnosis: 1993;
Age at Diagnosis: 44;
Colorado Springs, CO;
Basal Cell Carcinoma;
As a second-generation Italian American, I feared not skin cancer. Never even thought about it. I never suffered from sunburn. I worked and played outside (especially sports such as baseball, soccer, and golf), went to the beach, and lounged by the pool. I never suspected that I would get skin cancer.
In 1993 I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. My doctor noticed some areas of concern on my neck and head. I was referred to a dermatologist. She excised the basal cell carcinoma with standard excisions. She gave me a regimen to live by to avoid developing additional skin cancer (s).
The diagnosis, treatment, and future necessary precautions surprised me, but didn’t shock me as I realized I had lived as if I were immortal and nothing could harm me, including skin cancer.
I have since taken steps to protect myself from further skin cancer. I wear hats of various sizes when outside, regardless of activity or inactivity. I apply and use sunscreen. I even moderate my times of outside activity.
I do not consider myself a cancer survivor. I know and have known so many people who have suffered from cancer, even terminal types. I lost a friend back in my hometown who died from melanoma, leaving her children and husband without her.
So, check yourself. Have your partner help. Check with your primary care physician. See a dermatologist if necessary. Don’t wait. Act! Use appropriate sunscreen and always be mindful that the sun which gives us life can also take it from us.
With age, we “mature,” and move onto other serious medical issues, diagnoses, and diseases. I have. Nevertheless, continue to stay on guard for skin cancer and to take appropriate steps to protect yourself.