listen.

The next one to go.

The news about Kaye Cowher’s death started circulating among my Pittsburgh friends Friday night. I might have missed it then, but I heard it loud and clear this morning — it was skin cancer that ended her life at age 54.

I hate that.

I hate it because I’ve had skin cancer tumors removed already, on my arm, on my shoulder, and I’ve had a pre-cancerous lesion taken off my forehead. I hate it because I have two more spots on my arms that I need to be taken off as well.

And, as I’ve said before, I hate it because it’s preventable. And because we — yes, including me, the one who’s had tumors removed and will likely have to do so for the rest of his life — still don’t take it seriously.

Guys? Wear sunscreen. Put on a hat. If you can, stay out of the sun in the late morning and early afternoon. It’s really that easy.

And. If you notice a spot on your skin that you haven’t noticed before. If you have a little sore that doesn’t want to heal. If a mole or a birthmark you’ve grown up with starts to change size or color. Please — the next time you see your doctor, point it out. Make sure your doc sees it. Ask if it’s something that a dermatologist should check.

Because that little spot can kill you.

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3 thoughts on “listen.”

  1. Not many people take skin cancer as a serious threat. Being tan is supposed to look attractive, but it’s a sign of skin damage. Putting sun block on in the morning doesn’t take much time. I’ve also had many pre-cancerous areas removed and regret that I ever worshipped the sun. I stopped in my early twenties and am very thankful that I did. It’s hard to be the marshmallow in the crowd, but I’m also the one with fewer wrinkles and healthier skin!

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  2. In some ways, I think I’m lucky the sun is unkind to me. I NEVER got tan, just burned and peeled. I gave up in my early teens and am fanatical about sunscreen. “Natural” or “chemical-free” sunscreens are best (think alba or Burt’s Bees), but as long as you’re using SOMETHING, wearing hats, staying in the shade — etc., etc.

    I have a dermatologist brother with red-head sons. He’s even more fanatical than I am.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. UC, Skin cancer runs in the gene pool. Siblings of skin cancer patients are at higher risk and should get checked out regularly. My mom and sister have had tumerous material removed. That got me to the doctor and I hardly ever got sunburned but I’ve had cancerous material removed twice.

    For all your readers, the good news is that with early detection skin cancer is nearly 100% survivable (I might have made up a new word there.)

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