Health Check: Preventing Skin Cancer

Did you know more people get skin cancer than all other cancers combined? That's why it's so important to protect ourselves while we're out enjoying the summer sun. Serese Cole show us how - and what to watch out for in this month's Health Check report.

Terry Rucker is a roofing contractor which means long hours in the sun. So before he goes to work - he makes sure his skin is protected. Years ago, that wasn't the case.

"I always went without a shirt - big mistake," admitted Rucker.

His mistake was costly. Terry was diagnosed with skin cancer, not once - but twice.

Fremont Family Care's Larry Kisby says Terry had several risk factors.
Along with too much sun - people who are light-skinned in color, have blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair or a family history are more at risk. But anyone at any age can get it.

Certified Physician Assistant Larry Kisby said, "We see young people, teenagers and even pre-teens getting skin cancers now."

Serese Cole, Larry says there are three things we can all do to protect ourselves. First keep out of the sun as much as possible and in the shade. Next - wear protective clothing that includes long sleeves, a hat and sunglasses - that offer UV protection and don't forget the sunscreen. An SPF of at least 30 is recommended and remember - reapply often.

"I tell people be mindful of their own skin, watch themselves," said Kisby.

These are all examples of what to watch our for: If a lesion or spot on your skin changes in color, shape and size; if it's an irregular shape, larger than a pencil eraser, itches or bleeds - it should be checked out.

Terry's cancer was successfully removed. But his scar is a constant reminder.

"The sun is not your friend when you're outside," said Rucker.

A lesson he learned the hard way.

Larry Kisby advises against tanning and tanning beds altogether. Even if you don't burn - you are still damaging your skin.

Two of his recommendations: Have your skin examined by a physician every year as part of your annual physical and include sun block lip balm in your daily cancer prevention plan.

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