Go to Health! (Because Life's Too Short)

Issue # 25 Tuesday, April 21 , 1998

About the Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author

Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's
Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff
For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books, participate in an ongoing joke contest, surf on over to
www.rendell-smock.com .
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.

Shara signed with a New York Literary agency in December.

Cancer: Awareness is Halfway to Prevention

Part 3 of 5

Early Detection of Skin Cancer

Removed early, these cancers are easily treated and result in little scarring. The larger the tumor, the more extensive treatment needed to remove it.

Self-exams must be performed regularly, perhaps monthly if you are at high risk. If possible, use a full-length mirror and a hand mirror. Examine all skin that was exposed to the sun at any time in your life. Don't forget to look at the backs of ears, back, neck, backs of forearms and thighs.


Basal cell carcinoma may have one or more warning signs. Look for any of these five signs:

  1. An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains this way for three or more weeks. A persistent, non-healing sore is very common in early stages of basal cell.
  2. A reddish patch or irritated area that may itch or hurt, and at other times may cause no discomfort.
  3. A smooth growth with an elevated, rolled border and an indentation in the center. As the growth slowly enlarges, tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface.
  4. A shiny bump that is pearly or translucent, often pink, red, or white. It can also be tan, black, or brown, especially in the dark-haired, and can be confused with a mole.
  5. A scar-like area, white, yellow, or waxy, often with a poorly defined border. The skin itself appears shiny and taut. Although a less frequent sign, it can indicate an aggressive tumor. However, basal cell carcinoma can resemble other skin problems. If you notice any of these signs, see a physician who specializes in skin diseases.

    Squamous cell may look like nodules or red, scaly patches.

    The ABCD's of Melanoma carcinoma

    Here's an easy way to remember these signs -

    A) Asymmetry. One half doesn't match the other.
    B) Border. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
    C) Color. Shades of tan, brown, and black. May have dashes of red, white, and blue in the mottled appearance.
    D) Diameter. Greater than six millimeters--about the size of a pencil eraser. Have a doctor check a mole if you notice any growth in it.

    Other melanoma warning signs are;

    • scaliness, oozing, bleeding, a bump or nodule;
    • spread of pigment from a border into surrounding skin;
    • change in sensation, including itchiness or tenderness.

    Prevention & Treatment

    Use sun protection year-round. Wear sunscreen every day, preferably one with a high SPF. Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. Be aware that some medications increase sensitivity to the sun. Practice self-examinations. Nobody knows better than you about changes in your skin.

    If observing a skin change, such as a mole, make an appointment for a dermatologist to check the area. Dermatologic surgeons almost always can take care of the skin cancers in the office.

    Later This Week:

    Gender-related cancers: prostate and breast. Awareness is half way to prevention.

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Explore The New Sideroad

Part of the original Sideroad. Text © 1998, Shara Rendell-Smock. Posted on April 21 , 1998. The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at www.sideroad.com.

Shara's books can be ordered from her web site at www.rendell-smock.com