Sun's Out, Guns Out

May 2023

   Spring is here and with it the promise of summer soon to follow.  Promise, because as I write this on the cusp of May, we are looking at 40 degrees and snow.  But, the sun is higher in the sky and daylight hours are longer.  May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  

   Skin cancer, as a whole, is one of the most common cancers diagnosed.  Most are either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.  Relatively harmless, so to speak, as they are local cancers without much, if any, risk of spreading beyond the spot we find them.  Melanoma is the scary one.  The A B C D’s of skin cancer are easy enough to locate and won’t be reviewed in detail today.  Boiling it down to its most simple element, if you have a skin spot that is changing, or for some other reason makes you uncomfortable, have it looked at.

   Know your skin type.  The Fitzpatrick Skin Type classification is a way for physicians to assess your risk of skin cancer.  There are 6 skin types. These are based on 2 qualities, amount of melanin and your ability to tan.  Type 1 skin always burns and never tans.  Type 6 always tans and seldom burns.  Type 1 skin has the highest risk of skin cancer and type 6 the lowest, but not zero risk.  The skin care industry has been pushing sunscreens for years.  These really aren’t a sub ...

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