Friday, July 31, 2009
Medical Reports: Skin Cancer
Here in South Florida it's almost impossible to avoid exposure to the sun, but sometimes tanning comes with a heavy price, skin cancer. Seven's Richard Lemus tells us in today's healthcast, what you know and don't know about protecting yourself may be the difference between life and death.
WSVN -- Scott Lindstam has spent most of his life outside.
Scott Lindstam: "I just spend as much time on the water as I can."
All that time in the sun caused an unusual spot on his ear, but Scott ignored it.
Scott Lindstam: "If you wait as long as I did and don't know what it is, then you could be losing a body part, that's all it is."
Scott lost his ear to skin cancer 10 years ago. Now, he's losing his life.
Scott Lindstam: "When I went in my cancer had spread to my back and now it's growing through my bones all through my vertebrae and my ribs."
The key to protecting yourself is knowing the facts. One in three white people will have skin cancer at some point in their lifetime, and look at these pictures, the mole on your left is normal. The mole on your right is melanoma. Doctors say remember the ABC's.
Dr. Dennis Rousseau: "A is for asymmetry, meaning it's not perfectly round. B is border irregularity, meaning if you look at the borders they're jagged or not smooth. C is color variations. They tend to have multiple colors. D is diameter, six millimeters or larger, we get concerned about a mole, and E is expansion. Any mole that gets bigger is at risk."
Scott was given six months to live two years ago. Now, every day he's beating the odds.
Scott Lindstam: "When you wake up, people take a lot of things for granted and I just take mine day to day."
And Scott is using his time remaining teaching others to take skin cancer seriously.
Richard Lemus: "Now remember, it only takes one bad burn as a child to double your risk for developing melanoma later in life. Most of the sun damage we suffer happens during childhood."
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