Sun Protection Isn’t For Sissies

My husband had a squamous cell carcinoma removed yesterday. He’s got olive skin and never burns so has never thought he needed to use sunscreen. My experience with melanoma didn’t convince him he needed to protect his own skin because I am very fair and he isn’t.

He saw the dermatologist several months ago to have a few things frozen off. When they grew back, I hounded him until he went back for a biopsy.

He was shocked to learn they were squamous cell carcinoma. I wasn’t. I have learned to take these things very seriously. Squamous cell carcinoma can be as deadly as melanoma.protecting myself from the sun

His dermatologist scheduled him for Mohs surgery. I implored my husband to have a Mohs trained plastic surgeon do the procedure because it’s on his face. I used a plastic surgeon to remove the skin cancer from the back of my leg and I’m very glad I did. My scar is over 2″ long and virtually invisible.

My husband thought this dermatologist would do a “fine” job. I hope he’s right. He came home with a huge bandage covering 40 stitches on his upper lip.

I can’t say this will remind him to wear sunscreen, but I assure you it will inspire me to double my efforts to protect myself from sun damage. I’ve shared my arsenal of sunscreen with you many times, but the important thing is to take sun protection seriously.hats are a great way to protect yourself from the sun

I walk on the shady side of the street, wear sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, and hats. My convertible roof only comes down in the evening.

Please, protect your skin and be aware of any scaly skin patches that recur and won’t go away.

Have a great day and wear your sunscreen!




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    • Jennifer
      April 6, 2017 / 9:39 am

      It’s from J Jill, years ago. I like the white shirts from Coolibar that have sun protection.

  1. Anony
    November 19, 2016 / 6:49 pm

    Mohs surgery by a plastic surgeon is a wonderful thing, but it is not without pain or scars. Skin cancers of all kinds are increasing. No one should take their skin color as a free ticket not to use sunblock. Skin cancers can be harder to detect in people with dark skin, making them harder to treat. Early detection is the key, but prevention is best. If in doubt, check it out with a qualified dermatologist.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      You’re totally correct! We need to be proactive and protect our skin.

  2. Sarah
    November 19, 2016 / 5:42 pm

    I am obsessed with sun protection. My dermatologist gave me Efudex cream to burn off skin cancers before I can see them. Gnarly stuff but it works! You and your husband might ask your doctor about it.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      Thank you for giving me this brand name Sarah! I did ask our Dr about something like this and he poo-pooed it. I will ask specifically and if he gives me the run around I will change doctors!

  3. Louise K.
    November 19, 2016 / 4:43 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I really need to get in for a screening.
    My husband went to a Mohs specialist for a cancer on on ear, and his ears still ended up two different sizes! I think I’m the only one who notices. He’s had two melanomas and is on a 3-month check-up schedule. Darn sun!

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 5:36 pm

      Please schedule your screening, Louise. And keep encouraging your husband to continue his. Thanks for sharing.

  4. marlene alves
    November 19, 2016 / 8:46 am


    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 9:25 am

      My pleasure, Marlene. Have a great day.

  5. Julie
    November 19, 2016 / 7:18 am

    Your husband is lucky that you pushed him the second time. Years ago I had MOHs surgery by a specialist whose practice was skin cancers from the neck and up. His waiting list was long.

    Unless the forecast is for pouring rain all day, I do as you do. I use a top rated liquid sunscreen and a stick sunscreen as my concealer.

    My husband still has to be convinced he should wear it if the skies are overcast.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 7:29 am

      I’m with you, Julie! I’d love to know which sunscreens you like! The stick as coverup sounds brilliant! I even wear it in the rain 🙂

  6. Leslie Haws
    November 19, 2016 / 7:14 am

    Great reminders! I too have a senstivity to the sun. I follow the same practices as you. It is a pain in the you know what….but I never waiver. Coolibar makes some wonderful styles using the special sun protective fabric.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 7:27 am

      I love Coolibar, Leslie! I’ve been finding other sun protective clothing companies lately and really happy they’re becoming more popular. It really helps for long days outdoors.

  7. November 19, 2016 / 7:08 am

    Great reminders, Jennifer! I’d also suggest that anyone with fair skin or a family history of skin cancer get a regular mole check from their dermatologist (I go every 6 months).

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 7:24 am

      Great suggestion Susan. My doctor told me my family members have a 50% higher risk of getting skin cancer since I had melanoma. That means my children are a very high risk. Luckily they are both careful and my daughter, who is fairer complected than I am, is hyper careful!

  8. November 19, 2016 / 6:02 am

    So sorry you husband had to experience this! I hope everything will be okay and the scar will heal well.

    And thanks for the reminder. I’m very diligent with sunscreen and good about wearing a hat in summer but have become lazy lately (and it has obviously still been very sunny around here…).

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 7:19 am

      Thanks, Andrea! I must admit I’m more diligent to wear s hat in the summer, but need to be more careful in the off seasons and winter. Sun is sun and CA has more of it than many other places. That’s a lucky thing, but also a concern.

  9. Joanne Long
    November 19, 2016 / 5:55 am

    My husband (darker skinned than I) also had squamous cells removed from his nose. He did have Moh’s surgery. My husband grew up in British Columbia enjoying boating and water sports in a time when a “healthy tan” was desirable. Fairer skinned and less “outdoorsy”, I do wear a hat, sunscreen and avoid the brightest hours when I travel south. I hope your husband will use his sunscreen now. Mine does, sometimes!

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 7:16 am

      My husband did lots of boating as a young fellow. I bet his damage is from then. They tell me my recurring problems are from damage done when I was a child. You sound just like me. Good for you, doing all you can to prevent further damage! Thanks for sharing, Joanne.

  10. barbara hart
    November 19, 2016 / 4:40 am

    Good grief, Jennifer. My brother just had a terrible melanoma of the back earlier this year (now has bladder cancer of a different type). I had a biopsy (negative) earlier myself. Nag that husband

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 7:11 am

      I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, Barbara! I wish him well. I will continue to nag! I do it effortlessly :). I’m glad your biopsy was negative. Be vigilant! Have a great day.

  11. November 19, 2016 / 4:11 am

    Oh goodness, hope he is ok after that experience. Very important reminders in this post – thank you (I am very fair-skinned too). I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but after I became a regular drinker of fresh, organic carrot juice (made fresh every day and mixed with other veg, sour apples and organic ginger root), I stopped burning in the sun. I didn’t tan as such, but the tendency to burn at the first sign of sun just stopped. If I stop the juice, the burning starts again so I am guessing maybe the Vitamin A in carrots is protecting my skin.

    • Jennifer
      November 19, 2016 / 7:09 am

      That’s really fascinatingly, Gilly. I’m sure the vitamin A is helping. They say if you take Vit A tablets it helps protect your skin so drinking it would be even better. I use a Vit C serum which is supposed to help too. I still slather on the sunscreen. I can’t be too careful. Maybe I’ll try carrot juice too. Thanks for sharing!

      • lillian Plummer
        November 19, 2016 / 6:35 pm

        My husband continually has dry ice used to remove brown spots, which keep coming back. Refuses to seek further explanation. His dermatologist is of no help in encouraging a biopsy, I am going to show him your post. Thank you. Hope your husband’s treatment progresses well.

        • Jennifer
          November 19, 2016 / 9:20 pm

          I really hope you can get him to see a better dermatologist, Lillian, Freezing off pre-cancerous spots does not make them go away. It postpones ( and allows time to multiply) what could be very bad news. I hate to say this, but his dermatologist sounds unprofessional and irresponsible.

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