Before we became Skin Cancer Aware, swimsuits were different. They covered more of the wearer’s bodies. Less skin was exposed to the sun.
Are you Skin Cancer Aware? Do you wonder how to protect your skin from sunburn? How and when to use sunscreen?
Yes, covering your body as people did with swimwear many years ago, they were on the right track for preventing skin cancer.
Are you aware of the necessity of wearing sun blocking clothing to help sunscreen keep your skin safe? What makes a shirt become sun blocking clothing?
Will you make an adjustment in your skin protection program according to the needs of the seasons? Or do you just think about skin protection in the summertime?
That is usually when I am more aware of the need for skin protection. However, after all the research I have done about how the sun damages our skin, my awareness has changed. I can get sun damage in the winter too.
Are you aware of when you are endangering your skin’s health? Is your health worth the risk that your love of a summertime tan puts you in?
This is important. No, I don’t always pay attention, and I know you don’t either.
Lack Of Awareness
To make matters worse, I didn’t even pay attention when faced with the reconstruction of a loved one’s nose. Skin cancer can leave holes in your face. For some reason that just didn’t connect that the same damage could happen to me.
We didn’t have the resources to access much research back then. The Doctors used words to describe something I hadn’t seen. Most of their words I had not heard. But I made no effort to improve my access to information. I really wasn’t as curious about the skin cancer question as I could have been. Even allowing myself to be completely unaware, pretty much on purpose.
This made me have no idea how to offer support. Lack of information was playing a big role here.
How little I knew about CANCER, and I surely didn’t have any skin cancer aware. I didn’t know that skin cancer can take your life. Everyone I knew had overdone the sun at one point and had sunburned.
Including me! We were very indifferent to the damage the sun was doing to our bodies.
No One Was Skin Cancer Aware
We live in a sunny part of the world. My Dad worked outside, he was a farmer. My Mom hung clothes on a clothesline to dry. She helped take care of the yard and helped Dad when he needed help. So we all had a good start to spending time outside.
My parents did not spend their growing up years in front of a TV seeing young people enjoying the beach, sand, and sun as we did. We may have lived in a small agriculture-based town and society, but we knew how the “lucky” kids lived on the coast!
California and Flordia were big fantasy places to us. Even before we knew there was a Disneyland and Disney World. Yes, the miracles of Television!
Did television guide your dreams and ideas of how to take care of your skin? No one wore their “sunbonnet” to the beach like my mom wore to help Dad in the field.
None of the kids on TV wore their hats on the beach as Dad did to drive the tractor in the field. There were no long sleeve shirts on any beach in Florida or California!
What a way to get an inaccurate education about the dangers of too much sun. Letting people advertising products be our guideline for what was fun in the sun!
By now, you are beginning to understand the years of being dependent on TV, magazines, and movies to tell us what we needed to enjoy being in the sun.
I didn’t grab sunscreen before heading to the public pool in our community. Not many people got to go swimming there anyhow.
Everyone was at home working to make a living and everyone helped. We were doing our version of fun in the sun, and often it was just helping around the house and yard. Of course, we weren’t using sunscreen before going out and complained about wearing long sleeve shirts and hats with brims.
Paying For What We Didn’t Know
Buying the world that was being sold on TV where those “Lucky Kids” could stay out in the sun all day, we thought we could as well. We didn’t have a clue about the world they lived in.
So those seemingly carefree movies and kids on the beaches were the stuff we dreamed happened in “the other part of the world.” The one outside our farm world. Ideas of skin protection were changing
We soon adopted the approach we thought we saw on TV. Not bothering to be concerned about the damage the sun could do to our skin. We were not yet wise enough to know that TV seldom reflects reality.
It may seem bigger than life on the big screens we all have today. Even when our TV screens were 18″ we loved the world we were seeing. We wanted the carefree world that the stories shared. Some examples
As few of us could actually escape to California, we went on our merry way adapting our life to be what we thought was happening on those far away and exciting beaches. If you lived in California, every day was sunny and a holiday.
If you lived in my central plains area where the cotton farming was happening, every day was sunny as well. Every day may not have been a holiday, but I had enough free time growing up to sunburn more than once.
Of course, a bit of maturity taught us a bit more about the real world. We didn’t lose our desire for being out in the sun. We used our sunscreen sparingly. Just laughed at hats and protecting our noses.
Going our merry way, overexposing our skin to all sorts of sun damage. Our freckles were permanent. Lots of us had ears that were scaley and our shoulders had the lesions that are the forerunners of skin cancer.
A True Story From My Experiences With Skin Cancer
Here is the link for our skin cancer and skin cancer surgery. Often we have questions but ask a only few of them. We owe ourselves to be better prepared. While this may not have affected the surgery, it may have helped me to have been known how to be more supportive. The healing was a long-lasting project.
Eyes Were Ignored
In our part of the world, most adults have or need cataract surgery by their late 60s or early 70s. We live and drive in the bright sunlight.
And we have many days of sunlight in our normal weather patterns. Many of those hours are bright, hot, and definitely in the danger range if you have to be out in the direct sun.
Our eyes try to protect themselves by growing a covering over the iris to protect themselves. These are called cataracts. This takes many exposures. While there are many contributing factors to cataracts developing, UV rays play a bigger part.
Are you aware of how to protect your eyes? Do you remember your sunglasses? Is there an extra pair in your vehicle? By the back door to grab as you go out? By the front door? In the tote bag, that you grab when you know there will be some waiting time involved?
I have finally made sure that my sunglasses are backed up right now. Yes, I know that cataract surgery is like a right to life passage for most senior citizens, but would like to delay it a while if possible.
While thinking of the places to have extra pairs of sunglasses sitting so they will be handy when walking out a door, there may be a bit excessive locations, (like on the top of the commode tank) I am working on being aware.
This takes effort and me being more responsible. If you didn’t start early enough in your life to be sure of having protection for your eyes handy get started.
There is no doubt that this is more than one will need, but that is OK too. Somewhere along the way maybe there will have developed the habit of keeping my eyes protected.
Small Steps To Improve
My next goal is to figure out a way to keep a hat handy for when I wander out into the yard. I think I will only be out there for 2 minutes, and of course, it ends up being longer. Do you often get sidetracked?
Now that I am more aware, the amount of time I am out without a hat is front and foremost in my mind. Learning to change your mindset can take a while, but it can be done.
Hopefully, keeping a fabric hat with a brim in my tote bag for when I will be waiting will take care of the slack times I am waiting in the car. That bag goes with me in the car when I go anywhere but the grocery store.
The hat folds and is easy to store. While not expensive it is very effective in protecting my nose from the sun. I know, baby steps to get to where I need to be.
As a teenager, I had started getting out in the sun much earlier than my Mom. I had also discarded the protective long sleeves Mom wore as a general rule in the sun.
The young people on TV didn’t wear long-sleeved shirts on the beach. They wore sun tops and swimsuits that had thin or no straps across the shoulders. There was nothing to protect this often exposed part of our bodies.
My sun exposure is a combination of teenage immaturity and wanting to live like we thought those kids did elsewhere. Somewhere, where every day was different from where we were.
Are the decisions from your teenage years holding you responsible for some very unwise choices? My dumb decisions are present in permanent freckles and aging skin. Glad the teenage stuff only lasted a short while. The results are here forever.
How is your Skin Cancer Awareness? Your skin protection needs? Sunscreens and sun blocking clothing?
Sami’s Take On Skin Cancer Aware
I am sorry to say that skin cancer awareness was not part of how I lived my life for many years. The really upsetting result of the decisions I made is that my kids all have had their times under the knife to remove skin cancers.
That is not the legacy I want for my family. We are slowly wakening to the danger of living with too much sun in our daily lives.
Finally, we are learning that we can have fun in the sun, and still protect our skin. We have a slow start on a sun blocking wardrobe to help with the sunscreen that we now have available to protect ourselves.
However, we still have grandkids to help guide us through the years.
Hopefully, a life of skin cancer will not be what faces these members of our family. We are all very aware and have made strong moves in getting ourselves ready for safe fun in the sun.
What are your plans for keeping yourself and your family safe in the sun? Simple awareness makes it easier to know that you have had enough time in the sun for now. It is time to move to the shade. Time to take a break.