The “C” Word

Doesn't everyone have a big bucket of sunscreen?

Doesn’t everyone have a big bucket of sunscreen?

Cancer.  There, I said it.  We’ve dealt with a lot of cancer in my house in the last couple of years.  Even longer, I guess.  My dad and his dad both dealt with very aggressive skin cancers.  My father in law suffered with a sinus/nasal cancer.  A couple of my brothers had bouts with melanoma; coincidentally—or not?—in the same place, same arm.  My husband and a friend of ours each had a couple melanoma surgeries this year.  And most recently we have a close case of prostate cancer.  Wow, that is a lot of cancer.

The prostate and sinus cancer aren’t really things you can control.  There may be some discussion of diets, supplements, or health tips that come up occasionally, but for the most part it is a more random selection of a host.  The melanoma, on the other hand, is a little more predictable.  But it can definitely throw you a loop.  The fact that it runs rampant in my Finnish/English family is not surprising.  We are blindingly fair-skinned, blue eyed, and red or blond haired.  My husband jokes that we’re so pale you can almost see our hearts beating through our chests; yes, that is the cross we bear.  Imagine our surprise when he, the dark hair, dark skinned, German, was diagnosed.  See, cancer can be a fickle beast.

So since it is the beginning of summer, I thought I’d give you some tips on sun safety and cancer prevention.

  • Seek shade whenever possible, especially during the hottest times of the day.
  • Apply sunscreen with 15 SPF or higher at least 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours or after sweating or swimming.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim; baseball caps and most visors only cover minimal areas.
  • Cover up when possible.  Nowadays there are fabrics that help reflect harmful rays while keeping you cool.  These are great for boating or fishing.
  • Remember, the sun’s rays are reflected by sand, water, and pavement, and can go through light clothing, windshields, windows, and clouds.  Make sure to protect those babies!

According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be 76,690 new cases of melanoma this year and 9,480 deaths.  They may not all be preventable, but why wouldn’t you at least want to try?  Summer is a time for outdoor fun, and I hope it remains that way.  Just plan ahead and stay safe out there!



One response to this post.

  1. Hello! I am so sorry to hear about how much your family has gone through with cancer. But I am so glad to see that it has sparked you to spread the word about the importance of protecting from the sun! Our most recent blog post discusses Melanoma, what to look for, and the importance of early detection. You might be interested to read it and also learn about MelaFind… come take look!


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