Traci French thought she was dealing with a common but persistent blemish when she noticed the spot on her lip five years ago.
"It was very scaly, it looked like dry skin. Said the Frenchman living in Monrovia, California.
In the above video: A young Melbourne mother urges people to seek skin cancer.
"It would turn a little red and then it would look like a pimple was starting. Then it would disappear and the dryness reappear.
The 50-year-old worried as the stain returned time after time and showed it to her dermatologist during her annual skin exam.
It looked like a skin-colored bump. "
" I usually know right away that it's skin cancer. But in this case, it just really looked like a pimple, "said dermatologist Shirley Chi.
"It looked like a skin-colored bump.
She recommended French to wait a few seconds months to see if it would disappear.
When it did not, Chi shaved off a sample for a biopsy.
The diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma, a common skin cancer that most commonly occurs in sun-exposed areas of the body, including the head, neck, back of the hand and lower leg.
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French had spent a lot of time in the sun during high school playing sports such as football and softball.
She used sunscreen, but not all the time on her face, she said.
Chi calls it the second worst form of skin cancer after melanoma because it can spread to other parts of the body and potentially become life-threatening. Carcinoma is considered highly curable.
People may not think so much about the area around the lip when they apply sunscreen, Chi said, so the lips may be prone.
French had removed the stain, which required a reconstruction of her facial area.
She is happy with how the operation went, relieved that the cancer has disappeared, and surprised at how well her lip has healed.
She is now wearing more sunscreen and wearing a hat when she's out in the sun.
What to look for
Look for a new bump or scaly body on your skin that does not disappear, Chi advised.
People with compromised immune systems – including those with organ transplants that are infected with HIV or taking medicines that suppress their immune system – are at higher risk for squamous cell carcinoma.
- To protect your lips, apply SPF lip balm every day, even on cloudy days and especially Use a sports sunscreen to protect the eye area, which is less well tolerated.
- Always wear sunglasses when you're out there or riding a bike on a sunny day
- Some make-up powders also contain LSF.
- Do not forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, including the rags and tips.
- Be vigilant: If you have a stain on your skin that does not heal, ask your dermatologist.