Protecting Your Skin From Cancer
- ABC weatherman Sam Champion is a skin cancer survivor who’s had multiple surgeries to remove suspicious and cancerous moles.
- In 2010, he even broadcasted his Mohs surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma live on “Good Morning America.”
- It happened after he grew up hearing an old wives’ tale that many people can probably remember hearing too: “Get your first good burn of the year, and then your skin would acclimate.” (This is not true.)
- Mohs surgery is a microscopically-controlled surgery where surgeons remove thin layers of skin tissue until they reach clear tissue without cancer.
- To protect yourself from skin cancer, one of our experts says to avoid the sun during peak hours, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and wear sunscreen that is at least SPF 30m.
- Also, make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming/excessive sweating, get yearly skin checks with a professional and never get into a tanning bed.
For the record, that’s not true, and our experts say you always need sun protection like sunscreen and a hat (more on that below).Read More
Sam Champion Raises Skin Cancer AwarenessSam Champion received his first diagnosis in his mid-20s. Ever since, he’s had multiple surgeries to remove suspicious moles. In a 2015 interview with Best Self Atlanta Magazine, the anchor explained why he’s often having the procedures.
“The problem is that there is no way to treat it other than to cut it out,” Champion said. “But I’m on television every day, and that means that other people are aware of what’s going on. When I have scars and loop stitches, people notice.”
Choose the Right Sunscreen and Use It Often
That’s why he decided to come forward and tell people, point blank, about his skin cancer history. Much to his surprise, Champion had people from all over engaged and talking about skin cancer risk.
“It wasn’t a conversation people were having on a regular basis. I just wanted to discuss with people why I had these scars and stitches,” he said. “I was so taken aback. I got a huge response. People were sending me pictures and asking if I thought they had skin cancer.
“I thought, ‘We need to create awareness. People don’t want to feel like they’re being preached to, but we need get people talking about skin cancer.’”
RELATED: Melanoma Awareness: Yes, You Still Need to Protect Your Skin In The Winter
Experts Ways to Protect Your Skin
It was shortly after this revelation that Champion decided to broadcast the removal of his basal cell carcinoma live on “Good Morning America” in 2010.
During the broadcast, he underwent Mohs surgery – a microscopically-controlled surgery where surgeons remove thin layers of skin tissue and examine it under a microscope. If the surgeon finds cancerous tissue, they go back and remove more until they reach clear tissue.
Mohs Surgery Removes Skin Cancer with Smaller Incisions and More Certainty
“You’re able to remove a very conservative margin around the cancer and study it in essentially real-time,” Dr. Sumaira Aasi, Director of Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery at Stanford, told SurvivorNet.
Looking back on the well-received broadcast, Champion hopes people learned just how prevalent skin cancer is and how we should all be protecting ourselves.
“I wanted people to know what I didn’t know,” he said. “When I was a kid, there was no discussion about skin cancer. You were told to get your first good burn of the year, and then your skin would acclimate.
“But I was a blond, blue-eyed kid. And every time you burn, you damage your skin. The only way to prevent skin cancer is to use some kind of protection against the sun. Today, there is a huge variety of skin care products that include sunscreen. Those aisles in the stores are miles long, and they’re there for a reason. Anyone can get skin cancer.”
Five Ways to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer
In order to protect yourself from skin cancer, Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue, recommends five techniques to best reduce your risk of developing the disease.
And remember, it’s not enough to just protect exposed skin. It’s a commonly uttered myth that skin cancer can only occur on parts of the body that see the sun.
While it may be true that skin cancers tend to occur on places like the face, head, neck and arms, it is also possible to develop skin cancer anywhere on the body, including the bottoms of your feet, your genitals and the inside of your mouth.
Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Skin From Skin Cancer:
- Avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect the tops of our heads, the tops of our ears and the sensitive area around the eye.
- Wear sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, and make sure to reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Prioritize yearly skin checks with a professional since it’s difficult to evaluate all of the body ourselves.
- Never go to a tanning bed. There are no “good” tanning beds, and they can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer.
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