Paul’s PSA of the Day: Say Yes to Sunscreen

Today’s post was graciously approved by my husband, who will be spending this afternoon in outpatient surgery at UCLA Medical Center

“So, the skin cancer they removed 2 weeks ago turned out to be a melanoma. So now I have to go back and get a larger chunk cut out (the black outline). They will need to replace the skin with a piece from my upper leg. Fun. All this because I didn’t wear sunscreen as a youth.” –-Repost from @ramsestmagnum

Paul’s blue-green eyes and fair coloring come from the Irish and German heritage on his mother’s side–they signify low amounts of melanin, the pigment affecting hair, skin, and eye color, and which also provides some protection from the effects of sunlight. 
Sunny Southern California, where my husband has lived all his life, can be a risky place for light-skinned, light-eyed people.
Today’s procedure will remove additional skin around the area where a melanoma was taken off earlier this month, and close with a skin graft. The surgeons will also remove a lymph node. The skin and the lymph node will both be sent for biopsy. If no further evidence of cancer is found in either, that will be the end of this chapter. Paul will see a dermatologist every six months for monitoring, with the goal of catching and removing any problem spots when they’re still officially “pre-cancerous.”
My own darker coloring makes this less likely to be a problem for me, but once the weather warms up and I go out with more exposed skin, I’m rededicating myself to regular sunscreen application. I will also be playing the nagging-wife role and urging my husband to do the same.
Those of you swaddled in down jackets and snow boots are probably not giving much thought to sun exposure or protection these days, but winter will eventually be over, so this goes for you too: When the coats come off, please put the sunscreen on!

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