Skin Cancer is something to always keep at the forefront of your mind in the Costa del Sol sun but remember if you are of senior age and here in the cooler September / October weather, you still need to be vigilant and careful.
As teenagers, back in the 60’s a summer’s day out by the sea wasn’t considered a ‘good day out’ unless you came back home with red and blistered skin!! To be fair, most of us knew very little about the sun’s UV rays or sun protection creams or lotions.
Forward to Marbella, 2005, when at the age of 59, I developed my first skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma) on my back. This was dealt with, by a private dermatology doctor, as an outpatient (we had private medical care at that time) and that was that! Even at that point not much information was given to me with regard to being careful in the future.
In 2010 I went for a skin check as there was a small strange blister on my nose which wasn’t going away. After a check over the doctor found 3 suspect areas which she felt needed biopsies. 2 proved to be basal cell and the 3rd, which she was concerned may have been a melanoma, was fortunately nothing! Treatment followed and for the one on my nose I was transferred to the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella for Moh’s surgery. The hospital was fantastic and I cannot praise the doctors and nurses highly enough. Every day I look in the mirror and still offer them a silent ‘thank you’. After all, this was my face and right on the end of my nose!!
Since then I have regular checks every year at the Costa del Sol Hospital and to date have only had one more small one, on my leg, which was removed with a different procedure in 2012.
Most skin cancers don’t tend to appear until about you are between 50 to 60 years old. The more frequent sun exposure when you were / are young, the higher the risk of skin damage in later years.
I now spend very little time in the sun and especially not during the summer months of July & August on the Costa del Sol. I also wear sun protection every day, even when it is just cloudy. The UV rays pass quite nicely through cloud cover!
As we are now going into September & October here on the Costa del Sol and the weather begins to cool down, the temptation to sunbathe increases, especially for seniors many of whom don’t enjoy the fierce heat of August. However, please do be very careful. The sun’s rays are still very strong and we don’t always realize how easy it is to get Sunburn and do damage to our skin. Always use a high factor protection, wear a hat and stay in the shade particularly during the hottest hours of the day. Using sun protection is a good habit to acquire all through the year (as I do) to ensure that your skin is protected. I make it part of my daily morning routine.
Many skin cancers are curable nowadays and the treatments are varied depending on where and what type of cancer it is. Keep an eye on your face & body for anything that looks unusual and please don’t wait too long to see the doctor and get it checked out. It’s even more important if you are fair skinned and freckled like me. The sooner it’s looked at the better for any treatment you require. Prevention is certainly better than cure!!