I just got into the office, after spending an hour-and-a half in the doctor's office. It wasn't more than 6 months' ago that I last visited my dermatologist. Here I go again. I am waiting for the results of three biopsies.
I was in my early thirties when I first had surgery for a basal cell carcinoma. Not at all as serious as melanoma, but hey, cancer is cancer.
My mother was very cavalier about the sun. If I would break out, the sun was the answer! " Bake yourself in the sun tomorrow" would become her favorite mantra when I complained about my zits. I was desperate, and would have done anything to rid myself of this malady!
Fast forward twenty years, I was sitting in the dermatologist office - not discussing acne- but cancer. I'm paying a steep price for all that baking.
How would we know in 1960 what we know today about the sun? Generations ago,debutantes' were never allowed to go out into the sun without an umbrella, covered up. Women used to believe that the sun would destroy their fair complexions. Turns out, they were so right.
My mother was of Lithuanian background. She received no such instructions from her mother. What did she know about the dangers of the sun? She would share with me the odd story or two about my father roasting himself at the beach.
Dad got sun poisoning and apparently locked himself in a room, to hide his blistering skin from her. I took after Dad, the palest skin, with dark hair. Dad was Austrian-polish decent. Mother had olive skin, and while she also baked in the sun -and was blond- the damage wasn't as evident.
Today, I cautiously watch my skin in fear. I am saddled with hyper-pigmentation due to my love affair with the sun. I look at myself with disdain, and marvel and women who have no traces skin sun damage.
I had these ugly spots since I was 30. Not exactly an age related issue at that time.
I blame the UV rays and cooking myself to a lobster red in my teens. Strangers would approach me on the beach, pleading with me to get out of the sun.
What did I know.
However, I am grateful I know now. My daughter, 29, will not listen. She has a weekly date with a tanning bed that is sure to do her in. I have tried unsuccessfully to get her to listen, but my advise falls on deaf ears
My son, on the other hand, is as white and pale as me. He never goes outside with out ample sun screen. At thirty-one, doctors marvel at his healthy skin.
According to Today Health, MSNBC.com :Everything Causes Cancer': Teens Justify Tanning Bed Use, Study Finds.
When will American teens realize the harm they are doing to themselves?
It is sad to think they will some day have to deal with this unpleasant issue. The not-so-lucky may have to contend with live threatening skin cancers.
Please folks, do your research. If you don't believe me, look it up for yourselves. Protect your skin, and no matter where you live, don't venture out without your ammunition:
Your sunscreen recommended for your skin type.
Good luck! Please don't worship the sun.
It is not your friend.