MedWatch: Skin cancer prevention tips and warning signs

MedWatch: Skin cancer prevention tips and warning signs - 4/21/2019

LAWTON, OK (TNN) -1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and with summer right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about skin care.

70-year-old Rodger Fife grew up in California where the sun seems to always be shining.

“You know everybody was in the sun all the time and the only people you saw any protection were life guards with zinc oxide on their nose or their ears,” said Fife.

But that sun can cause some major damage to our skin. Fife learned that the hard way.

“I think it’s one of those deals where it’ll happen to someone else and won’t happen to me. But it did finally,” said Fife.

He’s talking about skin cancer. Dermatologist Dr. Eric Wyatt says there are several types of skin cancer, and certain warning signs to look for when examining yourself.

“I usually tell people, if you get a new spot or if you have a spot that changes size, shape, color or gets a symptom, come see me and we’ll find out what it is,” said Dr. Wyatt.

Dr. Wyatt says you need to protect yourself from sun, from sunrise to sunset.

“Between 10 and 4 is the most risk, but even before and after that you do have some degree of ultraviolet radiation that is going to affect your skin,” said Dr. Wyatt.

According to skincancer.org, there is a melanoma patient dying once every hour in the U.S. That’s why Dr. Wyatt says, people need to take it seriously and not wait to get something checked out.

“You can avert a lot of problems by getting it checked early,” said Dr. Wyatt. “Things like melanoma, your survival depends on how early that is found.”

Fife said his goal is to get all healed up, and plans to start using better sun protection.

“Don’t wait till later to start using protection like sunscreen and clothing, a hat, glasses, just different things. The sun is pretty damaging,” said Fife.

CCMH is holding their annual free skin cancer screenings on May 4, 2019 at the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center from 8 till noon. You can call 250-6565 to make an appointment.

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