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Old 12-11-2012, 08:39 PM   #1
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Don't forget the sunscreen---USE CAUTION

I've spent much of my life in the sun and never gave much thought to wearing sunscreen. I guess I was in that "Aw, it won't happen to me."

Well, last year during my physical my doctor suggested I visit a dermatologist to get some areas of my face checked out. I did, and had a Squamous Cell Carcinoma removed--one from my scalp, right at the top of my head. Since the scalp is not very elastic so they had to remove a large (50 cent piece size) section of skin from the back of my neck to do a skin graft for the top of my head.

I then went through a series of treatments where they used a combination of a very bright light and a crème to burn off some sun damaged skin cells. That hurt like hell but it seemed to work.

I went back in for my last checkup and the doc wanted to biopsy two areas from my face, one up near the top of my forehead on the right side and another in front of my right ear. Both came back positive for Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC).

Fortunately for me, SCC's are not cancerous so the "danger factor" is relatively low.

Yesterday I went in to have the one on my forehead removed. They cut it off, then biopsied around the edges to make sure they got it all. Then they sewed it back together. The forehead is not very elastic either, so they have to cut the skin away from the tissue beneath it. They cut it loose so they would have enough of the elastic skin to pull together to stitch it together.

They take pics before and after and I asked them to take pics with my phone so I could make this thread. The next time you think you don't need sunscreen, pull this thread up and take a look at it. Oh, and for the record, I now use a spray sunscreen with an SPF of 110.





So here I sit in my robe. I've had an ice pack on my forehead for most of the last 24 hours and I'm taking some codeine for the pain.

And yes, I will probably have a scar when this heals.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:08 PM   #2
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Ouch! I hope this ends well and wish you all the best. It is a timely warning to all,especially those with Euro skin pigments living in areas of strong sun and enjoying boating.
For years, Australia, the melanoma capital of the world, has pursued a "Slip,Slop,Slap" campaign:
Slip on a shirt.
Slop on sunscreen.
Slap on a hat.
The response has been sufficiently successful Vitamin D deficiencies have been seen.
Regular medico skin checks are a good idea. And I thought a carcinoma was a carcinoma, definitely something to be concerned about, least of all for scar potential.
Melanomas are especially dangerous and malign,once established they can reappear internally in places you least want. And they are not all sinister black in appearance; there are less common pink ones, hard to detect. Detected too late in a good friend < 40 years, with a wife and three children.
The strategy is prevention and later on, vigilance. Often the damage is done in teenage years, later it is a matter of damage control.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:09 PM   #3
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Yikes. Warning duly noted, Sir!
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:18 PM   #4
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Yikes. Warning duly noted, Sir!
Kitimat? Sun? Surely you jest.

I spent a few months there on separate occasions. When an occasional glow appeared in the sky, people came out of their houses and pointed at the sky in fear and trepidation.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:22 PM   #5
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Kitimat? Sun? Surely you jest.
Oh, crap...right. Damn vitamin D deficiency is making me delusional again.

Must...hang...on...until...winter...solstice...
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:31 AM   #6
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Red face Fair skinned

My skin is already showing signs of damage. I now see the value in a pilothouse boat/ Full Canvas enclosure.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:56 AM   #7
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Not just sun screen but cover also, hats, long sleeve shirts/pants. We both have spots the doctors check as being a live aboard we get a lot of UV rays, even on cold cloudy days. I have had several spots removed, by freezing them as they where getting big and ugly. Before summer I will have several more removed, most are on my shoulders and arms.

In the summer to at least look tan we use the sunless tanning lotion and also lighter in the winter to give a health glow/look. We are very glad we bought a pilot house with no fly bridge as we would not use it. When the sun comes out we look for cover.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:30 AM   #8
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Being a native Floridian,I have had lots of sun exposure over the years. I visit the dermatoligist every 3 to 6 months and almost always have a number of spots frozen. Forutnately, I have only had to have one SCC cut out on my arm.
We always use lots of sunscreen and always wear hats.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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Being a native Floridian,I have had lots of sun exposure over the years. I visit the dermatoligist every 3 to 6 months and almost always have a number of spots frozen. Forutnately, I have only had to have one SCC cut out on my arm.
We always use lots of sunscreen and always wear hats.
For the smaller ones I been using the wart freeze stuff you can buy at the drug store over the counter. Very easy to do/use and a lot cheap than going to the doctor. The freeze creates a blister so the dark spot can be lifted off in a couple of days. the small are just surface.

All year around we were cowgirl/boy hats. In the winter water proof felts hats and in the winter straw/vented hats. We are known for our cowgirl/boy hats.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:58 AM   #10
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Phil, while I guess that might work, I trust my Dr's training at spotting potential trouble spots better than mine..LOL
I have lost friends to melanomas because they didn't go to the dermatologist. Just not worth it in my opinion.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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This does sound like a good argument for pilothouse trawlers as opposed to a flying bridge where I like to perch. My sympathy to the original poster who has done every reader here a service through his reminder. I hope everything works out in your favor. For others, future standard operating procedures should include:
> a bottle of high SPF sunblock readily at hand (and actually use it)
> a hat with a brim or even one of those the sailboaters use with neck protection
> overhead shade or bimini top
> conscious calculation of exposure times
I remember being told years ago that when you think you have had enough daily sun exposure; you have already had too much

This pretty much describes the routine I have followed for a long time, but I intend to do so with even more urgency in light of this thread.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:23 PM   #12
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I have no pictures of my condition to share with the forum. My sun damaged ears manifested themselves at 39 years old. The culprit was a lifetime of working outdoors in baseball style hats. Baseball hats do not provide needed protection gents.

As has been mentioned by others, full brim hats are the only ones worth wearing outdoors. My ears have healed in the last 5 years through diligent use of full brim hats and sunscreen. If I go outside without that protection it takes less than 3 days to remind me why it's needed. My ear tops start feeling like an aligator skin.
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:28 PM   #13
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One of the things I liked about our boat (and still do) was the large bimini over the flybridge. One of the first things I did after buying the boat was having a similar size bimini made to go over the cockpit.

As a fair-skinned, red headed, blue eyed Irishman, I can't take too much sun. All the things that ColonyCove mentioned are things I do on a regular basis. Well, at least I started doing them this past summer.





I feel that if one person gets the message as a result of my post, it will have served its purpose.
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:55 PM   #14
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I rarely wear sunscreen, but I go see a dermi every year. No problems at 47.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:30 PM   #15
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Greetings,
I'd wear one...


...and I don't mean this as a joke!
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:44 PM   #16
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I rarely wear sunscreen, but I go see a dermi every year. No problems at 47.
Gonzo, you are so young. Let's hope you don't/haven't spent too much time on that sundeck...or give it a few more years....and yes, definitely keep having that yrly check.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:54 PM   #17
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I grew up in Hawaii and never used sunscreen, nor did anyone else I knew over there. Moved to Seattle in 1979 and haven't seen the sun since so I guess it's a non-issue for me.

We don't run the boat from the flying bridge (not anything to do with sun, however) and its usually raining so I wear long-sleeved shirts pretty much all year as well as long pants. In fact I don't think I even own a pair of shorts anymore.
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:40 AM   #18
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Marin it's still worth visiting the dermatologist. They say melanomas develop from sun damage that happened before age 18. Not sure if that is still accepted as correct but worth a visit to the derm for a consult.

I had two pre cancerous moles removed in my early 30s. Clean skin checks since. I love being in the sun though. Melanoma will probably get me in the end.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:02 AM   #19
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I grew up in Hawaii and never used sunscreen, nor did anyone else I knew over there. Moved to Seattle in 1979 and haven't seen the sun since so I guess it's a non-issue for me.
My worse sunburn was during an overcast day, in my early teens floating on an inner tube on a lake in NW Iowa.

Clouds don't protect you. Steel, wood, and fiberglass will; but hat, shirt, and sunscreen will help.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:08 AM   #20
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One of the things I liked about our boat (and still do) was the large bimini over the flybridge. One of the first things I did after buying the boat was having a similar size bimini made to go over the cockpit.

As a fair-skinned, red headed, blue eyed Irishman, I can't take too much sun. All the things that ColonyCove mentioned are things I do on a regular basis. Well, at least I started doing them this past summer.
Being blue-eyed and fair-skinned, I appreciate a fully-enclosed pilothouse without a flybridge.

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