Skin cancer in Salem, Oregon or anywhere in the world is a scary and potentially life-threatening problem. While we all enjoy time out in the sun, failing to take the basic precautions of using sunscreen can have a lasting impact, including the need to have regular checkups and exams to determine your risk of skin cancer.
To see what effect past mistakes can have on future consequences, look no further than the story of Hugh Jackman. The actor, best known for his portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men films, recently posted on Instagram about his treatment for basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.
The actor posted a photo of his bandaged face with the caption, “Another basal cell carcinoma. Thanks to frequent body checks and amazing doctors, all is well. Looks worse with the dressing on than off. I swear!” Jackman completed his post by reminding his followers about the importance of wearing sunscreen.
Frequent Sun Exposure Increases Risk of Skin Cancer
This latest skin cancer scare isn’t the first for the 48-year-old Australian actor. Jackman has shared previous posts starting in 2013 about other basal cell carcinomas that had to be surgically removed. In a previous post from last year, Jackman referred to basal cell carcinoma as “the mildest form of cancer, but serious, nonetheless.”
True words indeed.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) ranks as the most commonly occurring cancer in the U.S., with over 4 million cases diagnosed a year. BCC is caused by long-term or intense sun exposure (picture a sunburn) and typically develops in areas of the body most frequently exposed to the sun, such as your back, shoulders, neck, nose, ears, and face.
While anybody that spends a lot of time outdoors can develop BCC, light-haired and fair-skinned individuals are more susceptible.
Jackman’s upbringing in Australia may also have contributed to his repeated skin cancer scares. In a 2016 interview with People Jackman said, “Being an Australian, it’s a very common thing. I never wore sunscreen growing up so I was a prime candidate for it.”
Failure to wear sunscreen is a cultural problem in Australia, as the rate of skin cancer in the country is actually one of the highest in the world – 2 to 3 times more common than in the U.S. Approximately 2 out of 3 Australians will receive a skin cancer diagnosis by the age of 70.
Early Diagnosis the Key
Fortunately, BCC almost never spreads to other parts of the body, making it one of the least deadly forms of the cancer. While BCC usually won’t spread, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the issue. The longer you wait to have the disease diagnosed and treated, the more time you give the tumor to grow and become very disfiguring. Allowing BCC to grow also makes treating the disease more complicated, requiring more surgery to successfully remove it.
Further complicating things: BCC typically develops in areas where surgery is more difficult to perform, such as the ears, nose, and face.
To lower your risk of developing skin cancer in Salem, Oregon and around the world, make a point to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm, when the rays of the sun are at their strongest. Additionally, you always need to wear sunscreen on the exposed parts of your skin, especially your face, even on cloudy days.
When out in the sun more than a few minutes, take the time to dress appropriately. Wearing long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat can make all the difference to the health of your skin now and in the future. Just ask the Wolverine.