Caregivers: Skin Cancer Treatments Make A Beach Play Day Less Tempting

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Do you remember your childhood vacations? I sure do. I have wonderful Baby Boomer memories of sunny days at our local beach. Whether I was playing in the water, running in the sand, climbing the rocky pier. I doubt today’s kids are allowed to do that anymore!

Those delightful memories are combined with some not so wonderful memories of getting totally and completely fried on more than one occasion! As a child, I know we used sun lotion, but if they had an SPF rating we didn’t know it back then. Not only that, those lotions washed right off the instant you got in the water. For a beach baby like me, that meant all day without much lotion coupled with a miserable night of Noxzema to try to cool the fiery skin, at least the first couple of days of the vacation. Never stopped me though. I loved that beach too much!

Once I hit the teen years I started using that ever-wonderful and efficient sun screen called BABY OIL!  🙂 Oh my. That only lasted a few times as those burns were much worse. Then I started having children and didn’t want them to get burnt. About the same time, they started coming out with great sun lotions that actually stayed on in water and had SPFs of 15 or more.

Why am I telling you all this? Because this month I’ve been helping an aging uncle with his skin cancer treatments. Two weeks ago he was miserable from having several basal cell carcinomas burned off his face and shoulders. Today he is again miserable, after having a quarter size patch of skin and tissue removed from his nose, then a flap sewed over to cover the area. Again, basal cell carcinoma was the culprit. He’s been dealing with these skin cancer treatments for over twenty years. The first few seemed like no big deal. Then he was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma. That was definitely a bigger deal. That was also the first actual mini-operation, as we call them. Today was his third. Each time he stresses about it beforehand and suffers through it during and after. It’s just not fun at all!

Back when he first started having these show up, I did some research on it all. It was somewhat hard to find much then. Not to mention hard to trek to the library and research deeply with young kids. Nowadays, it took me 15 minutes to dig up some interesting news to share with you for today’s Current Events meme.

Skin cancer doesn’t usually make the news headlines. Breast cancer is what you usually read about, and rightly so. That’s a nasty disease that kills many. Guess what, skin cancer is also a nasty disease that kills many. It needs to be in the news more often!

SKIN CANCER FACTS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , (CDC),

  • 53,792 people were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2005.
  • 8,345 people died from melanomas of the skin in 2005.
  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
  • Epidemiologic data suggest that most skin cancers can be prevented if children, adolescents, and adults are protected from UV radiation.
  • The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are highly curable.
  • Melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous, especially among young people.
  • Approximately 65%–90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light or sunlight.
  • Tanning beds and sunlamps emit ultraviolet rays that are as dangerous as those from the sun and, therefore, should be avoided.

You’ve probably heard that melanoma is the deadly skin cancer, but did you know that, “very few people die of basal cell carcinomas, but squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is much more deadly and must be treated with considerable skill and care.” If I had known that way back when my aging Uncle had his removed, I would have been much more concerned for him. But he did get it treated in time and is still doing fine, other than these regular treatments.

Does this mean that our grandchildren can no longer frolic along the ocean or busily build sandcastles at the beach? No. It does mean that the days of baby oil should, hopefully, be long gone. Good quality, high SPF sun lotion (at least 15 if not more) should be regularly and often applied. Between 10 am and 4 pm, when UV rays are at their worst, a shady umbrella makes a great investment, as do sun hats and sunglasses.

Nowadays, I would just as soon we all wear t-shirts and shorts except when we are actually in the water. I also make sure all my grandkids and I wear my personal favorite, Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion ,  which now comes in SPF 50.

I started using it when my babies were young as it is hypoallergenic and has a non-irritating formula. I would put theirs on, then put on my grown-up lotion, only to discover that one caused my eyes to be miserable. I still wash my hands after using the Water Babies, but even if I can’t, I don’t have nearly the problem. It was gentle for them, it’s gentle for me, AND now that my babies are in their late 20s it’s still gentle for my grandbabies.  I personally consider it one of the best tanning products out there! My sweet elderly uncle can use it as well, to hopefully stave off the next round of skin cancer treatments. Even if it only delays it for a couple of months, he greatly appreciates that!  Now that’s good news to my ears!

For more current event and news updates, you can visit The Surrendered Scribe. In the meantime, be sure to remind your aging parents AND your grandkids to put on their hats and their sunscreen. And don’t forget your own!

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for SandwichINK’s free email newsletter , delivering daily articles and ocasionally interesting tid-bits exclusive to newsletter readers. When you do, head straight to SandwichINK’s very first contest – scroll to the bottom and let us know you signed up for the email and you’ll get a free entry to win a great gift for an aging parent or grandparent.

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