It's summertime. We are having 90-degree days, and a lot of sun. I may not be at the beach anymore, but I still get outside, and with the hot temps I won't be wearing long-sleeves! You know what this much sun means: Skin Cancer alerts.
Now, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Big C has me in its sights. And yes, Skin Cancer, specifically. It's kind of comforting to know something with such certainty, in a world where nothing seems sure.
Dude, I have Every. Single. Risk factor.
I know. That's pretty awe-inspiring, right? You may envy me, if you wish.
- Fair skin, fair hair, fair eyes? Check.
- Direct descendent of skin cancer survivor? Check. My grandfather on my mother's side.
- Even more direct line: My mom has had 5 spots removed already. One (or two?) of which were actual trouble. ...I guess the others just looked like trouble. Guilt by association!
- High quantity of moles/freckles? Dude, I used to play connect the dots with the moles on my stomach or legs. My last doctor did a map of my back. Check.
Well first, that's cute that you think I'm young enough that all the modern info about skin cancer was available when I was little. Secondly, yes, to the extent they could control it, I was always told to wear sunblock. But thirdly, I went away to boarding school at the tender age of 11. Apart from telling me, how much control do you think they had?
- Live in tropics? Check. Look up Sri Lanka on a globe. I was about 10* N latitude. Even my school in India and our later home in Taiwan qualify.
- Live at high altitudes? Check. Most of that time in South Asia was at high altitudes 6,000 ft. or higher, which put me closer to less-filtered UV rays.
- Number of sunburns? Huge. At least one major, peeling, lobster-red burn every year. At least. I think that's a big "Check!"
- Number of blistering sunburns? Also high. One that qualified as 2nd degree. Youch. Check.
- Use of tanning beds? Check. I will admit, with some chagrin, that I started using the tanning beds at my gym last summer. (just a couple hits per month) I don't think I will continue - well, even if my new gym has them, whenever I sign up at a new gym.
The funny (if that's the word I want) - the funny thing is, my sister had breast cancer a few years ago. I'm not at all worried about that. I mean, yes, I do all the check-ups and mammograms, and have since before the usual age they start that, but I don't think I'm a likely candidate.
We have NO family history of that.
Hestia lives a generally less healthy lifestyle than I do. (A lot of processed/fast foods. A lot of soda. Very little exercise. An overall chaotic/stressed out take on life.)
In the meantime, I will try to stay out of the sun during peak hours, and will wear sunblock if I know I'll be out in it. (Regardless of all the changes to sunblock labels. Oy vey, really?)
What do you think? Do you need or not need sunblock? Are you one of those blessed with the ability to tan? Or will I be seeing you at the dermatologist/oncologist?
And...on this day in history:
Napoleon met his Waterloo! ...and we gained a new phrase. So let's all drink something French.
p.s. To those of you who followed this weekend's events on Twitter and were expecting a different post, it's coming, but this was on deck. ...and next up is the 100th Post. Bear with me!