“PLEASE! PLEASE! WEAR SUNSCREEN” These were the words Hugh Jackman put on Instagram in mid-May after having his second skin cancer lesion removed. In November 2013, Jackman has a basal cell carcinoma removed from the tip of his nose and most recently had a second one removed from the side of his nose.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and of all cancers. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, approximately 2.8 million cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are diagnosed each year in the United States. While BCC is does not usually metastasize, or spread to other areas of the body, it is still important to both identify and treat the cancer early as it can cause disfigurement. With early detection, BCCs are almost always curable.
BCC can appear as red spots, bumps, pink growths or open sores. Many times people are diagnosed with BCC when they visit their doctor about a sore that won’t heal. If your doctor is concerned whether a spot or lesion could be skin cancer, he will usually do a biopsy, which is when the skin is examined under a microscope. If you are diagnosed with BCC, your doctor will discuss several treatment options with you, such as Moh’s surgery, excision or curettage and electrodesiccation.
Researchers have long linked sun exposure to skin cancer, with even one sunburn greatly increasing your chances of developing skin cancer later in life. Protecting your skin from the sun is the best way to prevent or reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. Hugh Jackman agrees, telling People Magazine, “Tell all your readers: get check ups, wear sunscreen. It’s all about prevention.”
Prevention measures include:
- Wearing sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 any time you are outdoors
- Wear protective clothing, including light weight long-sleeve shirts and broad rimmed hats
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Stay in the shade between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM
- Avoid tanning and burning
- Avoid tanning booths
You should also perform skin self-checks every month and visit a dermatologist for a skin check every year, more often if you are at an increased risk of skin cancer or if you have a history of skin cancer. Early detection and treatment is extremely important. When it is caught early, BCC is almost always curable.
“Basal Cell Carcinoma Prevention Guidelines,” Date Uknown, Reviewed by Perry Robins, Deborah S. Sarnoff and David J. Leffell, Skin Cancer Foundation
“Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment Options,” Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Skin Cancer Foundation
Published On: May 21, 2014