Lifestyle

The Lifestyler: By the way 2 thirds of you will have Cancer!

Now I have your attention let me be a bit more specific. According to the Australian Cancer Council two-thirds of you will have a skin cancer treated by the time they are 70.

Now the LifeStyler knows a bit about this as he has been treated for it for more than 30 years.

Skin cancer is when skin cells get damaged most likely by the sun or more precisely UV radiation. In 2016 more than 5 people died in Australia every day from it.

OK, we live in a sunburnt country so the best method is prevention and that is why we are encouraged to Slip Slop Slap not just because sunburn hurts.

How do I know if I have it?  The most common indicator is a scar like patch of skin that does not seem to heal.  Indeed it can heal, the skin grows over but is re-exposed when you go back out into the sun. It can display as small lumps or freckles but the best way is to visit your GP if not a Skin Cancer Clinic.  In a lot of cases but not all these guy’s will even bulk bill. My recommendation would be the Skin Cancer Clinics as this is what they specialise in.  The next level up again is a dermatologist then a surgeon.

My visits normally have the same routine and last 10 to 15 min.  I strip down to my undies and the doc has a good gander at my skin including the soles of my feet.  If he identifies a Sun spot or Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) he will treat it with some liquid nitrogen.  This is a cold jet that feels a bit like being pricked by a number of pins. 

Liquid Nitrogen is at such a temperature that kills cancer cells but not skin cells. Occasionally the doc will take a biopsy which involves removing a bit of skin under a very local anaesthetic and sending it off for testing. 

In all my years this has only ever once comes back as a Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) to which I returned, for him to dig a bit more of my skin out to ensure everything is removed.  I visit my skin doctor every 6 months on his advice but my wife with olive skin only goes every two years.

The type of skin cancer you don’t want is melanoma which account for the most deaths but is also the most unlikely form.  However in saying that a friend of mine got it and was dead in 12 months.

If you develop sun spots on your face there is a chemotherapy treatment in the form of a cream.  It acts against cancer cells which are fast growing and although you look terrible for 6 weeks i.e. red face spots etc. it has a fantastic result in you look younger afterwards and there is no scaring.

So my simple sobering message for you all this week is if you are in any doubt or you have never been checked.  JUST GO SEE A DOCTOR NOW and be safe!!!!! Don’t let it continue to develop untreated when there is a simple cure.

More details can be found at The Cancer Council Website

The Lifestyler: By the way 2 thirds of you will have Cancer!
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