This weekend would have been Dad's birthday. And as the day's warm up and I see so many people outside, I think it's a good time for a friendly reminder that melanoma cancer is real, you are at risk for it, and it can kill you.
Dad grew up in an age before there was sunscreen. He loved to be outdoors, whether in a convertible, flying a model airplane, fishing, golfing, or just working on one of his projects - he was an outdoors kind of man. His first battle with melanoma was in 1996 when it was discovered on his ear. He had most of his ear taken off in surgery and underwent radiation therapy. The cancer then seemed to disappear for 9 years, but then returned as metastatic melanoma in his liver. This cancer took his life only a few years after it was discovered. I still miss him every day, especially this week.
Although I cannot bring my Dad back, I can help spread the word about melanoma cancer, and how you can try to avoid it. These tips are from the American Cancer Society:
1. Avoid exposure to the midday sun (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) whenever possible. When your shadow is shorter than you are, remember to protect yourself from the sun.
2.If you must be outside, wear long sleeves, long pants, and a hat with a wide brim.
3. Protect yourself from UV radiation that can penetrate light clothing, windshields, and windows.
4. Help protect your skin by using a lotion, cream, or gel that contains sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection is provided.
5. Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses can protect both the eyes and the skin around the eyes.
Remember to check your skin monthly for moles or changes in your skin. Do not delay seeing a doctor. Check yourself and check your loved ones.
It could save a life!