Something There to Remind Me

I have a scar on my left hand about the size of my thumb. It’s the spot where I had a carcinoma— cancer. It’s been a few years since it was removed, but I remember being told by the plastic surgeon that it was confined to that one spot, and that it was caught early. What a relief !

The scar is barely noticeable now, but I know it’s there. It reminds me to be diligent with sun protection as a way of preventing skin cancer from coming back. Neither the dermatologist nor the surgeon blamed not using sunscreen, but I have to admit, I was pretty lax about it. I thought I looked better with a little bit of a tan. Not any more. Remember the days when we put baby oil with a bit of iodine in it to help promote tanning? I now know how foolish that was. I use sunscreen with a 55 or 60 SPF. There is still a lot of confusion about the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) numbers, but I found this website that has some pretty good information.

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, we need to pay more attention to the various types of skin cancer, and know how to prevent them. Protecting ourselves from overexposure to the sun is a pretty simple way to do that. We need the Vitamin D from the sun, so you just have to choose your exposure times and length carefully.

Yes, putting on sunscreen is a bit of a pain, and I’ve noticed that the price has risen dramatically over the past few years as more people are becoming more aware of the need for it.  Paying the price for sunscreen is better than paying a higher price with cancer.

In the June 2010 issue of Chatelaine magazine this article “Summer’s 10 Commandments”  has some great advice and tips for products.

With our long, often dull winters we seem to need to soak up that sun. I have no intention of covering up all the time, or staying in the shade. I get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. I happily take a few minutes before heading out to do my “slop, slap, slip” routine. Slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat (check my post “Mad About Hats” on this), slip on the shades.  If I forget, I have something there to remind me.

What about you? Are you a sun worshipper? Do you worry about protecting yourself from the sun? We want to be safe, but we need to enjoy the warm sunshine too. So, go out and soak up those rays–carefully.


6 thoughts on “Something There to Remind Me

  1. What a great blog with lots of valuable information, Christine. I am not a sun worshiper. I tend to get bored so laying in the sun has never been considered a fun way to pass time for me. Also, when I was a child I burned to a crisp so sun block was imperative; mind you we didn’t have 30, 40 or 60+ SPF then so even when my mom slathered it on before I went out to play, my face and shoulders always got red.

    As we get older we do become more aware of the shouldn’t do rules and it seems to be a pretty simple way to keep out of harm’s way by just avoiding direct sunlight, wearing a hat, ensuring you’re wearing sunblock and those easy-to-do things that you have shared with us.

    Thanks for bringing this very important topic to the forefront.

    1. Thanks for the kudos and insightful comments, Suzanne. Maybe it’s true that with age comes wisdom–usually because we’ve learned things the hard way.

      I tried to approach this with a little bit of humour and convey the information without being too preachy. I hope I struck a good balance.

  2. Hi Christine:
    I used to love to go to the tanning booth — on occasion. But ever since that scare in the news where they said that tanning beds have led to skin cancer in younger people, I quit going. And our weather has been quite wet and filled with mosquitoes, so I haven’t gotten any tan yet this year. I miss it. Perhaps it’s a bit of vanity, but I really love the look of tanned skin. And I don’t like the look of skin that’s been darkened with artificial bronzing creams. So here I am with white legs and it’s nearly July 1st. Oh, well. Guess I have to embrace a new mindset and be content with what God gave me. Cheers!

    1. Thanks for chiming in Doreen. I’m glad to hear you’ve given up on the tanning beds.

      As you say, we have to embrace a new mindset and appreciate our fair skin. It wasn’t that long ago that a woman with a tan was seen to be a lower class because it meant she worked in the fields. The women who were envied were those with the fairer skin–because it meant they had time to sit under umbrellas and sip tea or lemonade. I think that sounds lovely.

      I agree that some go to far with artificial creams, but there are bronzing powders that can give you a nice glow if they are used sparingly.

  3. I am definitely not a sun worshipper. I know a few people who’ve had skin cancer and I’ve burned a couple of times badly enough to know to stay out of the sun. I’ve never blistered, but I’ve had some itchy burns. How easily do I burn? I’ve been sitting in bleachers, under a roof with the sun up behind me–and behind the roof–and I’ve still had a burn. So, I’m extra careful.

    When I go out, it’s SPF 30 or 45 (I’ve heard that more than that is a lie), I take a hat and extra clothing. I also have a bottle of sunscreen on hand and I reapply every few hours or after being in the water. I love being outdoors but I am pale, pale, pale, so I take just about every precaution possible.

    Thanks for this post. You’ve got some great information here!

    1. Sounds like you take this as seriously as I do, Heidi. I guess it’s true what they say–once burned, twice shy.
      I don’t know about the higher SPF numbers. They used to say nothing higher than 20 made much difference, yet the dermatologist gave me one with an SPF of 60 when I had the surgery. Now we use 55 or 60. Better to be safe than sorry.
      Thanks for the comment, and the praise.

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