Skin Cancer Awareness Month – Week 4

May is Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

– – -This went up late because I was running around like a(n SPF-wearing) decapitated chicken yesterday preparing for our cookout. I hope, if you’re in the US and had the luxury of a day off, that you had a relaxing day. I ALSO hope that if you spent time outside, you covered up (either with clothing or shade) and wore sunscreen.

One thing you can do that would make you an awesome host of any barbecues or outdoor festivities would be to provide sunscreen for your guests. Get one of the huge cans of the spray variety stuff and offer it up (or, you know, gently badger your friends to use it).

Did you know…

That you should reapply sunscreen every two hours? More often if you’ve been exposed to water or if you’ve been excessively sweating (so, swimming, doing yard work, outdoor exercise). If you’re going to be outside in the sun, it may be a good idea to wear minimal makeup so you can reapply sunscreen without issue. Otherwise, get thee a wide-brim hat.

Did you know…

EVERYONE should practice sun safety. Contrary to popular belief, people of color can indeed burn! Sunscreen and protection is not just for pasty people. Be smart, protect your skin.

Also, on that same note – people of color can and do get skin cancer, too. What’s worse is that it is often detected at a later stage in people of color…so while the incidence itself isn’t as high, the fatality of it is higher, percentage-wise. According to, “According to recent studies, the five-year survival rate for African Americans with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is 59 percent compared to 85 percent in Caucasians.” That’s scary!

Did you know…

Although sun and other UV exposure is definitely a major factor, predisposition to melanoma is also hereditary – if your mom, dad, grandparents, or siblings have received a diagnosis, you need to be extra vigilant. That said, other causes are believed to be present but are yet undetermined.

On the topic of heredity – no, having ancestors of varying heredity with darker skin does not somehow neutralize your risk for skin cancer. You still need to protect yourself; it doesn’t matter if your Great Grandmother was <insert ethnicity here>. Don’t be stubborn; protecting your skin is NOT cowardly.

Did you know…

Tiny humans should have limited sun exposure. Little ones under six months should not use conventional sunscreen; parents should keep them in the shade as much as possible, and they should be dressed in lightweight pants and shirts with sleeves. Here’s an article from the FDA (though I encourage you to research on your own – you will find evidence supporting this article) discussing the matter. Remember, babies can’t quite regulate their body temperatures the way older children and adults can. Keep them safe.

My Mom’s surgery went well (she had her stitches removed this morning, in fact). The results of my father’s biopsies came back – one was just on the verge of being shady, and the other is Squamous Cell Carcinoma, to be removed by (I’m told) curettage and electrodessication (aka they cut some away and then cauterize the area with an electric needle-looking apparatus); the treatment isn’t, comparatively, bad. Unpleasant, but necessary.

I hope this series of posts taught you something or at least inspired you to do your own research and/or take greater measures to protect yourself.