I WANT TO BE A SNAKE
Our winter has been extra cold. We had more days of temperatures in the freezing range and more precipitation than we have had since 1983. The arrival of warm sunny days has been very welcome. It has been wonderful to throw open the windows, turn on the fans, and allow the house to air.
During the first few days of warm weather I find myself wanting to soak up sun, letting it penetrate deep into my bones and add a little color to my skin. Today was one of those days. While working in the flowerbeds I found evidence that I had a visitor. I’m sure he spent his morning laying in the sand soaking up the sun. I’m so very envious of him being able to soak up unlimited amounts of sun, if he becomes too warm he’ll just slither away and find a spot under a cool rock. Then a couple of times a year he will shed his old skin leaving behind a fresh skin with no evidence of sun damage or age. Lucky guy!
After working the back flowerbed I decided to go in and change into a sleeveless shirt. I found my favorite shirt, slipped it on, and while passing the mirror decided to run the brush through my hair, that’s when I saw it. It stopped me cold. It is only about 1/4 x 1/4 inch, and very light in color, but it never goes away. At the base of my throat it is my scar where I had a Basal Cell carcinoma removed. It serves as a constant reminder what sun exposure will do. So, back to the closet, put the long sleeve shirt on, and the hat, find the sun screen, apply, and leave the sun worshiping to the snakes.
The following facts come from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases in two million people are diagnosed annually.37
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.3
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.26
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million BCCs are diagnosed annually in the US.38 BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the US,39 resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.2
- Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two major forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either skin cancer at least once.7
- In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers was more than $1 billion.14
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.30
- Up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun.16
For more information on skin cancers and Melanoma visit the Skin Cancer Foundation.