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Protect yourself from Skin Cancer

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Old 04-20-2016, 06:03 PM
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Default Protect yourself from Skin Cancer

This is a subject that none of us like to think about...but one we all need to none the less.

I have been Boating, Swimming and Fishing in Florida most of my life....40 plus years of it anyway. We are blessed here in South Florida with being able to enjoy year round boating and I have taken advantage of that every chance I get !!

Now...at age 63...it is catching up with me. I am going thru a series of surgeries having cancerous lesions removed fro various parts of my body...Scalp,face, neck, shoulder and legs.Luckily...they are all Basal Cell and Squamas Cell Carcinomas as opposed to the deadly Melanomas.
Back in the '70's we really didn't have "Sun Block"...we had Coppertone and Sea & Ski that maybe had an SPF of 4 !!! LOL. During the mid to late '80's we started seeing SPF ratings on Sun Protection products as Dermatologist and the public became more aware of Skin Cancer and it's damaging effects. By the late '80's and thru the '90's most of my damage was already done. I went to the dermatologist every few years and had a few places cut or frozen off. So...40 years later I'm getting the bigger stuff removed. I have a great Dermatologist and Plastic Surgeon.
These things require Skin Grafts and are a pain in the ass to deal with. These damn things aren't just painful to have removed...it also gets expensive. Money I would much rather spend restoring my boat is being spent to restore me LOL !!!

As I write this I am sitting inside in front of my computer, with my head wrapped in gauze...recovering from an out patient surgery this morning that required General Anesthesia. I have to wear my "Terrorist Costume" for six days until I go back to my plastic surgeon to have a check up. Then we start planning the next round of surgery.

So my word to you is...and I stress this as an old member of the boating community and your friend....keep you and your family protected from the sun !! Where you can't cover exposed skin...use a high quality BLOCK...on your face, neck, scalp, etc. I see a lot of guys headed offshore to fish now with hats and neck capes, long sleeve SPF rated micro fiber shirts,etc.

And for those of you that only get out in the Summer months up North...don't think you are immune to this. You sit inside covered up all winter and on that first good boating weekend you are out there bearing the old white pasty bod to the Sun...just so you can go back to the office on Monday...burned up and the envy of all you work buds !! Going from zero to burned is where you do the most damage !!

Start making Sun Protection as big a part of your Boating Safety Equipment as your, Fire Extinguishers, electronics, PFD's, flares, extra lines, anchor,etc.

As for me...I'll definitely be back on the water soon...but you can bet I'll be covered up with Sun Block and/or SPF rated clothing!!!

Last edited by sprink58; 04-20-2016 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 04-20-2016, 07:44 PM
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Well said my wife has had the same thing done, but we do use a lot off sunblock during the summer, can't imagine going with out it.
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:26 PM
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Sprink58 -- First I totally agree with your comments – and I hope you are doing well and all suspected areas are gone!!

I had a lesion removed this past summer – atypical cells but not cancer. I had Mohs surgery - which in my opinion is the biggest racket since boat repair—

Let me explain.

First the method and science behind Mohs surgery is phenomenal – I truly think it is a great process – but in my opinion it depends where the suspected lesion is. Mine was on the top of my head – and yes I am kinda bald- no I am bald. Every time the surgeon walked out of the room it cost me about $1000.00 to have a specimen excised and examined. It took three trips -- I have a little experience in the surgical suites. Back in the day (when we had 9 planets) someone would present with a suspected lesion, the Physician would excise a good margin around the area, sew it up and send a bill. The tissue was examined by a pathologist and if it looked like it was all gone – case closed – if not get a little more tissue. In my case the surgeon explained that they wanted to preserve good tissue and was concerned about the scar. Well the surgeon was about 5’ nothing- I’m well over 6’. I explained to her that when she could see the top of my head then I would worry about a scar. I even asked her if she had a boat payment due – she does have a boat. Never did get an answer.
Now if a suspected area is on the tip of the nose, ear, or eyelid (yes eyelid) this Mohs process is the way to go – you need to preserve as much tissue as possible and make sure you get everything out. But on a target rich environment like the top of my head – didn’t make a lot of sense.

I would be interested if we have some Doc’s out there to chime in.

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Old 04-20-2016, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3pointstar View Post
Sprink58 -- First I totally agree with your comments – and I hope you are doing well and all suspected areas are gone!!

I had a lesion removed this past summer – atypical cells but not cancer. I had Mohs surgery - which in my opinion is the biggest racket since boat repair—

Let me explain.

First the method and science behind Mohs surgery is phenomenal – I truly think it is a great process – but in my opinion it depends where the suspected lesion is. Mine was on the top of my head – and yes I am kinda bald- no I am bald. Every time the surgeon walked out of the room it cost me about $1000.00 to have a specimen excised and examined. It took three trips -- I have a little experience in the surgical suites. Back in the day (when we had 9 planets) someone would present with a suspected lesion, the Physician would excise a good margin around the area, sew it up and send a bill. The tissue was examined by a pathologist and if it looked like it was all gone – case closed – if not get a little more tissue. In my case the surgeon explained that they wanted to preserve good tissue and was concerned about the scar. Well the surgeon was about 5’ nothing- I’m well over 6’. I explained to her that when she could see the top of my head then I would worry about a scar. I even asked her if she had a boat payment due – she does have a boat. Never did get an answer.
Now if a suspected area is on the tip of the nose, ear, or eyelid (yes eyelid) this Mohs process is the way to go – you need to preserve as much tissue as possible and make sure you get everything out. But on a target rich environment like the top of my head – didn’t make a lot of sense.

I would be interested if we have some Doc’s out there to chime in.

3pointstar
I have been the Mohs route in the past. If you have someone that knows what they're doing it's the way to go. In my case...I had six lesions biopsied...two came back Squamous and 4 Basal. I'm going after the head and face first where I have 2: Basals. Next we will move to the one on my right shoulder then one on each leg. I have already had one small Basal excised from my left cheek. The initial pathology was done by a Dermatologist that recommended a great Plastic Surgeon.

My Plastic Surgeon is taking this approach:: cut out a flap with decent margin around the largest of these things, then pull a section of skin off my thigh and graft it back in. These require general anesthesia due to the graft and must be done in a Surgical Outpatient Center. I had the first one of these done today. In his 35 years of doing this he is 99.9% positive that he is getting all of it and when he is finished the area looks as good as new.

Now to the money !!! I caught on to the BS some Dr's pull with this "Obamacare" crap insurance that will dime and dollar you to death. My deal with him is to bill this work to me at the "Medicare" Rate which is about a third of what he would normally charge back to an insurance company. This helps me out a bit on the deductible and co insurance. Once I satisfy that then Insurance kicks in at 100% and he can do what he will with the insurance company. Hopefully I won't get into too much $$$$ but he's helping me where he can. He told me he makes his real money on boob jobs, tummy tucks, face lifts and other un insurable elective cosmetic surgery.

I am also mostly bald on top and that's the first place to get burned !! Being of Scotch/Irish/Scandinavian heritage doesn't hep me much in this department either !!! LOL

Thanks for your thoughts and we'll keep working on it. I look at it like restoring an old car or boat....you cut out the bad, patch it up with donor material, re finish it and move on LOL
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:02 PM
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I can relate as I had one spot that was Melanoma on the back of my right shoulder removed about 18 months ago. Luckily it was on the lower end of the scale that they classify them. I also grew up back when Coppertone was the norm. Living up in Canada where we cover up for 6 months of the year and still see a dermatologist every 6 months and have spots burned off each time.So far no more major sports that need to be removed. Thank god for our health system all has been covered.
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:16 PM
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I also had skin problems,and I caught it in time.I have a daughter in the skin care business and she hooked me up with a sunscreen product called COOLA.iT'S NOT CHEAP BUT IT WORKS !
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:39 PM
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Yep. 52 now. Spent 30 years playing and working out in the boat in the sun here in SW Florida.

Got so sick of the sun the last year I was in business I was seriously considering putting a air conditioned pilot house on my parasail boat.

I went to a dermatologist for a little sore I had back in the day. She took one look at me and my sun bleached blonde hair and skin being darker and redder than a native Americanan Indian and African American combined and immediately asked me what I did to get like this.

I said I work on or n the water 12 hours a day. She was like "you have got to stop doing that". I laughed and left after she checked me.

But she left a lasting impression on me that I was slowly killing myself.


My family would always get on me being so tan or burned because they were from Michigan the land of no Sun

I would always tell them the way I was partying my Mind and my liver were in a race to see who would fail first , so skin cancer will have to catch up.

Never once did I think about my eyes being fried from all the sun now that I am older and half blind some days..
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:25 AM
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I'm an Aussie and Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. I'm 51 and have been going through many of these treatments for about 15 years now and I am not worried anymore.....

As a kid, my family spent all our holidays boating, skiing, and sun baking. As an adult, I continued to do the same and ignored the threat of sun damage to my skin. Around 15 years ago, I noticed a tiny skin tag on my forehead, I could scratch off easily and it left a little scab like a pimple. The scab would fall off and the little skin tag would re-appear. Went to the quack and had it removed, 5 stitches, basel cell carcinoma, all done. Fast forward to present day, I see a dermatologist 3-4 times a year and she burns, cuts, lasers a dozen similar spots every time.

I'm lucky I have only had Basel cell and Squamous cell carcinomas. If they are detected and treated, each one will pose no threat. If you let them go, they continue to grow UNDER the outer layer of skin and can increase in size considerably.

I said I'm not worried, sounds crazy but here we go...... Most of the damage was done 40+ years ago as a little kid when nobody knew better. Nothing can change that and if you're middle aged or older ( think that covers a lot of us ) keep an eye on any new or irregular sunspots, freckles or moles. As long as they are found and treated, you're doing all you can. The threat of the more severe melanoma is always present and like the op, I've been lucky enough to escape this one so far. Use sunblock and cover up, a tan may look healthy but trust me, it's not! Don't worry about what you can't control and take the worry out of what you can control by covering up.

Living in a hot climate now, I don't try for a suntan, my friends know I can get tanned any day of the week. I wear a shirt and a cap when boating. Swimming, I'll take off the shirt but usually keep the cap on. My legs and forearms are tanned because I wear shorts and t-shirts every day. The rest of me is quite pale by comparison. Prevention is the best cure of course so I do what I can to protect myself.

If you think this is all a bit overprotective and paranoid, go ahead and keep on tanning yourself, I couldn't care less but please look after your kids while they're still young and maybe they won't have to go through all the obstacles discussed here when they get older.

The old story about olive skin and darker skinned people not getting sunburnt? Skin cancers can grow and spread on skin regardless of pigmentation or ethnicity.

Good thread, safe boating in every respect!

RR

Last edited by rak rua; 04-27-2016 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 04-27-2016, 03:50 PM
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I'm 56 now.

At 40, I had a dark spot on my left foot taken off at my Doctors.

I thought nothing about it until they called a week later and lined me up with a Cancer Doc. There, he explained I had a Melanoma taken off and it was cancerous.

I was shocked to honest, I grew up in a time when your parents sent you out at 8am and as long as you were home for supper in the summertime all was good. There were after burn things like Solarcaine we used to put on but nobody ever wore sun block.

Anyway, at 40 have this Melanoma and up to Princess Margeret Hospital in Toronto I go to have a Sentinal Node Biopsy done. They remove the Lymph nodes in my left groin and find 2 out of 5 nodes have some cancer in them. I was thinking at the time, I'm screwed. I'm going to leave my wife and son way too early
.
They told me I would have about 5 years.

It is obvious by now that they were wrong.

I read several articles that even my diagnosis could have been wrong, but I do keep my ass out of the sun shine now and always have the bimini up on the boat and were a 45plus SPF. (kind like spreading thick paint on that stuff is, LOL!)

To all the young guys and girls out there.

Don't screw around. Wear a hat, slap on some sun screen and stay out of the sun when you can.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:18 PM
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OK...had another surgery today with total anesthesia. I had a Basal Cell Carcinoma removed from my right cheek...surgery lasted just over an hour. I feel like I got hit by a truck !!

Well at least the damn thing is gone now.

Just another re-iteration and reminder to myself and others...paying my dues for too much exposure to the sun.

Damn this thing hurts !!! LOL

Stay covered up and wear Sunscreen !!
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