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.
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.