It’s not ‘just skin cancer,’ and other tips to stay Sun Smart
By Kristen Hackbarth, Communications Director
Have you ever had someone tell you they had a little something removed from their skin saying, “It’s no big deal, just a little skin cancer,” and continue on as if it’s really no big deal? It was a little shocking the first time I’d heard it from someone. After all, it’s cancer and skin is the largest organ of the body. That seems pretty serious.
In fact, it is.
This year in Nevada it’s estimated about 1,000 people will be diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. When it comes to the other two much more common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, there’s no way to estimate how many people will be diagnosed. (That’s because the state’s cancer registry and national agencies don’t track those two types of cancer.)
When you’re young, it’s easy to think skin cancer won’t happen to you. After all, how many kids did you know with the disease? None? Same here. Now, however, I know at least a dozen people who’ve had skin cancers removed from their bodies, some of them diagnosed with melanoma. Those cancers didn't just appear. Chances are they're the result of a lifetime of skin exposure. Just last year during my annual skin check I had a spot removed that turned out to be pre-cancerous. I was so grateful that I’d followed the advice of so many, to get my annual skin check, and that I’d been using sunscreen and following the 5 S’s for sun safety. At this year's skin check I got the all clear.
This month, Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Month, I’m lucky to be part of an organization that offers a program such as Sun Smart Nevada to help everyone make better decisions when it comes to their skin’s health. Our Prevention Programs Manager created a series of videos in partnership with dermatologists Dr. Whitney Hovenic and Dr. Irene Mannering to give you the lowdown on all things skin cancer. Watch them below and share them with those you care about. When it comes to someone you love, it's really "not just a little skin cancer."