Skin Cancer Looks Pretty On You…Lessons Learned

This will be the first summer I’m actually not trying to get a tan.

Last year, on a whim while I was at the doctor for a sore throat I asked her to check out a strange mole.  Long story short…that turned into her removing 2 “concerning” moles on my back.

What the scars look like on my back

She sent those in and they revealed cancerous cells.  She then sent me to a dermatologist for a full body skin cancer scan.  I diligently made my appointment, had another spot tested and yet again, it turned out to be basal cell carcinoma.  So, my back is hacked up from digging deeper to ensure all these scary spots are long gone.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the entire United States.  This shouldn’t be news to me.  My mom has had numerous spots removed and my  30 year old cousin passed away from melanoma.

First, this obviously runs in my family…

Second, I abused my body with sun and tanning booths from the age of 16 on.  All of these spots were on my back.  I rarely tanned my back in the sun outdoors, so that really only left one explanation as to how I got these cancerous spots on my back…..yep…the tanning booth.  It’s hard to argue there’s not a clear correlation.  I’m such an idiot, I remember going to the tanning booth my senior year when I had just returned from a vacation in Cancun…I wanted to be EXTRA tan.  Dumb.

Ironically, the mole I asked my doctor to check wasn’t even the one that turned out to be cancerous.  The ones that turned out to be cancerous I’d never even noticed before.  I’m going to throw my husband under the bus here and blame him a bit….he could have told me?! lol  However, Mike wouldn’t even notice if I dyed my hair red…so what did I expect?

According to the American Cancer Society here are a few examples of WEIRD moles you should be on the lookout for….however, I must tell you, my cancerous spots were NOT this dramatic.  That’s why it is so important to have your body scanned by a professional.

cancer mole

If you’re going to get skin cancer, the kind I got was the least scary.  Nonetheless, I’m not messing around anymore.  A little too late?  Probably, but why risk it?  Do you know what I LOVE NOW?!  Spray tans!  Who the heck WOULDN’T get a tan that way instead of laying in cancer causing bulbs.  I’ve heard people say it’s inconvenient to get a spray tan or it turns out uneven, or it wears off too quickly…well let me tell you, the scars on my back are inconvenient along with the medical bill that went along with it and annual exams that are a mandatory part of my life now.  I have a feeling that my future involves more spots being removed, it’s unfortunately very likely.  I should be grateful my scars are on my back.  Some people have much deeper, more visible wounds from their cancer wars.

I’m certainly not an expert on skin cancer…however, I’ve become hyper aware of my skin after last year’s incident.  If you want to learn more about the different types of skin cancer and educate yourself further on the symptoms, signs and treatment I suggest clicking here.

Think your skin looks fine on the surface?  Take a look at this woman who agreed to show what her skin looked like under ultraviolet rays, exposing all the damage below the surface.  Yeah…for real.  Why do we do this to ourselves ladies?  All for the sake of beauty?

Photo Credit: U of C Cancer Center

Ladies…especially you youngsters…don’t be dumb like me.  Save your skin!  Even if cancer doesn’t worry you, the wrinkles that suddenly appear when you’re 36 will!  Do me a favor, flip your arm over and look at the inside of your wrist and arm.  That’s what your skin is supposed to look like…that skin is usually protected from the sun, it’s soft, wrinkle free(ish) and typically not filled with sunspots.  Keep your skin looking flawless like that by protecting it!  Wear sunscreen!  I LOVE that makeup now has SPF in it.  Perfect!  Kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  I don’t know about you, but I sure wish my skin looked like the left side of this picture below rather than the right.  Wouldn’t you?

Thanks for listening to my educational rant.  I’m just lookin’ out for you! 🙂  This summer, get out and enjoy the sunshine with a big hat, sunglasses, SPF and a cocktail!  Any of you have any stories you’d like to share with some young girls who may need to hear it?  Let us know!

xoxo Emily (Laney Lu’s mom)

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