Suspicious skin spots should be checked

BOWLING GREEN Ky. – Tracey Travis wondered why she had spots on her skin and figured she should get them checked. That’s when she learned she had cancer.

American Academy of Dermatology Association started skin cancer awareness month to bring attention to this pressing matter, especially as the temperatures begin to rise in May leading more people outdoors.

Skin cancer is the second most common cancer in women ages 15 to 29, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Travis, a patient at Bowling Green’s Kentucky Skin Cancer Center was treated for a skin condition known as basal cell carcinoma.

“Well, I’ve had these places on my skin that I kept ignoring for several years. Then I decided I’d better get them checked. So, I came and he checked them and we did a biopsy, then we scheduled surgery because they did come back cancerous,” Travis said.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends skin protective steps such as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and making it a priority to apply sunscreen when outdoors.

Kentucky Skin Cancer Center physician Dr. Robert Skaggs emphasizes the importance of starting skin care at a young age. He performs Mohs surgery, a type of surgical procedure used to treat skin cancer.

“Everybody thinks they’re invincible when they’re young. We don’t think anything will happen to us, but unfortunately that’s really not true. The other thing is that we’re all exposed to UV light or the sun from the time we’re born to the time we go to the doctor’s office. The sun can be very harmful to our skin. It causes the vast, vast majority of skin cancers,” Skaggs said.

“The more UV exposure you have, the more wrinkly you will be when you’re older. That’s something that definitely weighs on people’s minds, but also you get the added benefit that they are protecting themselves from future skin cancer,” he said.

The American Academy of Dermatology website offers free resources such as flyers and videos to keep children and families safe and healthy this summer.