Skin care essential for those who enjoy outdoor sports |

Skin care essential for those who enjoy outdoor sports

I have been an outdoor person all my life. Being out in the sunshine and fresh air has been terrific. I never thought that the sun would cause me any problems.

However, a couple of years ago I noticed what appeared to be a scratch on my nose. I never gave it much thought and really did not do anything about it for about a year. Finally, I decided to have it checked out by a dermatologist.

It was apparently a pre-cancerous spot that the doctor went ahead and froze. It appeared to solve the problem for a short while, but then the spot reappeared and I finally had to go back to the doctor.

This time she suspected that it was a Basil Cell Carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, and took a biopsy to be sure. The word cancer sends fear into all of us. Fortunately, this type is relatively slow growing and very localized.

The biopsy a week later confirmed the diagnosis and surgery was suggested as the preferred option. Creams are also a possibility for this type of cancer, but there are potential adverse reactions and it is usually about 80 percent effective. The surgery is 100 percent.

The dermatologist recommended a doctor in Reno to perform the surgery. I called and was fortunate to have the procedure scheduled the following week due to a cancellation in the doctorand#8217;s schedule.

Any kind of surgery is nerve wracking. I had the procedure performed and it was a pretty sizable portion on my nose that was removed. As a result, I may have a little scarring on my nose, but the cancerous portion is now gone.

I only write about this process because, most of the people who read this column are outdoor people. We really would not be living up here if we were not. The doctors pointed out to me that I was in a relatively low-risk group because of the pigment of my skin. That is why I was never really concerned about skin cancer. Fair-skinned people obviously have the highest risk. I always used sunscreen once I was older, but I used a minimal amount of when I was young.

Use that sunscreen liberally when going out in the sun and be sure to have any spots that you are wondering about on your skin checked out by a dermatologist. There are much worse skin cancers than what I had. I was fortunate.

Many of my friends tease me because I use sunscreen on overcast days. I point out to them that the UV rays are still there, so using it makes sense to me.

I am hoping that this gets everyone thinking about taking the necessary precautions when going out into the sun. Most experts agree that a sunscreen with a UV rating of at least 30 should be used and reapplied frequently. Start this process when you are young. You do not want to deal with skin cancer. Trust me when I say, it is not a pleasant experience.

and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.

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