Aug. 23, 2014 9:01 a.m. - Updated: 9:07 a.m.
The doctor winced as she looked at me and said, “You don’t have many wrinkles.”
“And that is bad?” I asked.
“Well, not bad, but wrinkles make it easier to hide the incision.”
It started as a little red dot on my face that would not go away. I asked an esthetician to look at it. “If it doesn’t resolve in two weeks, get an appointment with a dermatologist,” she said.
I did. And learned the little red dot on my face is skin cancer. The pathology report said basal cell carcinoma, as suspected, and surprise! Some squamous cell cancer is here, too. The squamous cell cancer had “roots” and can metastasize.
Now, 11 days after the cancer was totally removed - “You caught it early,” the doc said - the earthworm-looking lumpy line on my face is no longer bright red, the dissolvable stitches are dissolving and my hysteria has (almost) subsided.
Ten years ago I had breast cancer; I was not looking for another version of this insidious affliction. But even as a great indoors person, I was vulnerable.
“We all ran around in the sun as children and sunscreen did not become perfected until about 15 years ago. And we live where there is a high rate of skin cancer,” my dermatologist said.
Yes, in the dreary, rainy, cloudy Pacific Northwest. Our temperate climate invites us to wear shorts all year and who would think to apply sunscreen when walking in 50-degree cloudy weather? Yes, harmful rays get through the fog.
My doc told me genetics factor in. Hmmm. My dad had exactly the same skin cancer in exactly the same spot on his face.
So learn the risks and take precautions. The world offers enough trouble without worshipping it on the beach.
(S-R photo: City Beach in Coeur d’Alene )
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