Monday, August 13, 2012

The sins of my youth … are finally catching up with me.

No, not those kinds of sins.  I never went through a wild child phase (more like slight mischief at the most), but the “sin” of ignorance.   I grew up in a generation that knew little about the dangers of the sun.  I was one of those that assumed you “had to burn, before you could tan”.  I did nothing to protect my skin in my early years.

Then as a teenager and young adult, I was introduced to the beaches and worked 12 hour days selling suntan lotion to tourists in Daytona Beach.  I learned a little bit about sun protection and a little bit more about using aloe at night to help heal the skin.  But, I still didn’t know enough.

I really believe my education wasn’t complete until 20 years ago when I started Absolutely Natural.  It was through exhaustive research searching for the best, all natural sun protection, tanning products and after sun aloes, that I really learned about how to protect yourself in the sun; how to enjoy the outdoors and still be responsible; how to get and keep a healthy, safe tan.

I was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer last week and tomorrow am going in for surgery.  Now, the great news is that it was caught early and the surgery is outpatient and the chances of it being life threatening are very slim.  

The reason for this blog is twofold.  One, I beg you to use proper products in the sun.  Of course, our sunscreens offer the best protection and are the safest to use but even if you don’t buy ours, make sure you use a physical sunscreen (titanium and/or zinc) and make sure you steer clear of the very high SPF values that chemical sunscreen companies are promoting.

Second, please, please, please visit a dermatologist and get regular check- ups for skin cancer.    Doing a self-check is valuable but the only way to be 100% sure, is to let a professional exam you.   A synopsis of the three types of skin cancer follows:

Three Kinds of Cancer:
The two most common forms are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. They are referred to as nonmelanoma skin cancer. The most dangerous form is melanoma that tends to metastasize throughout the body and can cause death. There are almost 70,000 new cases of melanoma every year.

Basal cell accounts for 90% of new skin cancers and usually begins as a small dome shaped bump. They can appear very dark and are usually irregular shaped. Squamous begins in the squamous cells which are flat, scale-like cells that form the surface of the skin, the hollow organs of the body and the respiratory and digestive tracts. So, squamous can form in any of these tissues. It most frequently appears on the skin as rough, red bumps on the scalp, face, ears and backs of the hands. It can take 10 years for the cancer to invade deeply into the skin and become fully developed squamous cell carcinoma.

The risks for developing any of these cancers include age, UV exposure in tanning beds, therapeutic radiation and most prominently exposure to the sun.
Skin Cancer claims 12,000 lives a year.  Caught early, as mine was, it usually poses little risk.  Let it go too long and you can, unfortunately, be one of the statistics.

Best regards,


Deanna said...

Having stumbled upon this recent post after looking at the new products, I had to comment Charley. I hope your surgury was successful and you are now cancer free.

I also dealt with skin cancer in 2007, basal cell, and had Mohs micrographic surgery on my nose. It was pretty devastating, seeing a thumb-tip sized hole in the side of my nose, but they did get it all and I am not bothered by the small scarring I have.

I have tried a few of your products and love them. I hope to continue to expand my supply as I am able to.

Good luck and thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info Charley, I will past through the message!! Hope everything went well.

Keep up the good work.
Best regards, Toine Kuypers (suncare advisor, Spain)

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