By Kelli Artherton
The warm weather is finally here and I think it’s actually here to stay. BBQ and pool season is just about to kick off and that means more sun exposure to our skin.
May is actually skin cancer awareness month. With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. By raising awareness of the dangers of unprotected exposure and encouraging sun-safe habits, we can change behaviors and save lives.
It’s so important that we all protect our skin. No matter what age you are, if you aren’t wearing a daily sunscreen, you need to start today. (If you need a good sunscreen click here to see the one I use daily for my face) Our skin is such a crucial part of our health. If you are a young momma you need to lather your babies up with sunscreen every time they are outside.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a minute. I know we have all been young and naive, where we wanted a tan and we would do anything to get one. We would lay outside until we had tan lines, wouldn’t listen to our mommas telling us to put sunscreen on, because let’s face it, we tan better without it, right? Ha! Wrong answer. I learned this the hard way. I was this redheaded, 12 year old, freckly little girl telling my momma this line all to many times. I wanted a tan and I was going to lay out all day. (Click here to read my story, Dear 12 year old me.)
Well, fast forward to my mid twenties, I went into to a doctors appointment for a check up. The doctor had noticed all of my freckles and moles and asked me if I had ever had my moles checked out. I never had, never thought any of my moles looked strange so didn’t see the need for it. The doctor then asked me if any of my moles had changed over the years. I mentioned that one of my moles had actually grown a little bit, but never thought anything of it. The doctor said we should probably remove that mole just to be safe, I’m sure it’s absolutely nothing.
A week passed by and I get the call I wasn’t expecting. A voice on the phone tells me “you have the first stage of malignant melanoma.” What? Are you sure? I thought I had nothing to worry about. Wow, ok, now what?
I tell you my story to encourage you to protect your skin. The sun is good for our health, but we have to be careful in the sun. Have fun outside, but protect that precious skin of yours. I now get checked every six months for skin cancer, and have had over 15 moles removed. I ended up with another malignant melanoma mole a few years after my first one, and the doctor said to not be suprised if I have more in the future. 🙁
Skin cancer is no joke, and malignant melanoma is the fastest growing skin cancer and can also be deadly. If you don’t catch it fast enough in can be in your blood stream very quickly. Please let my story and other stories of your friends and family make you think twice about stepping out into the sun unprotected.
Be safe out there this summer mommas!!