Skin Cancer Screening at Stanford: David Duckworth’s Story
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Skin Cancer Screening at Stanford: David Duckworth’s Story

My name is David Duckworth. I live in San
Jose, California. I grew up fairly close to a beach, and I never really paid that much
attention to sunblock. So, the company that I worked with had a skin
cancer screening day where they brought in a doctor from Stanford Hospital, a dermatologist.
So my wife and I took advantage of that. Mr. Duckworth fits neatly into the category
of middle aged men who have a history of just chronic sun exposure, who otherwise, really
don’t think of themselves as being at high risk for skin cancer. So I wasn’t too surprised to find this lesion
on his chest, which to me, looked very much like a basal cell cancer. He took a biopsy, and, sure enough it was
basal cells, and I had the basal cell scraped, this painless procedure. Fortunately, as a basal cell cancer, the most
common and treatable kind of skin cancer, and we were able to address that, quite nicely
for him. About a week after I initially saw him, he was completely clear of that cancer.
But he is at about a fifty percent risk for developing another basal cell cancer over
the course of his life. And so, what I spent most of the visit talking
to Mr. Duckworth about was the value of, now protection. There’s a fantastic randomized control study
that showed that if you use sunscreen on a daily basis that can reduce the risk of melanoma
by fifty percent. That is a remarkable way to easily decrease the risk of developing
that form of skin cancer, which is the more deadly form of skin cancer. There’s a great value to early detection of
skin cancers, especially melanoma, We know that the longer a melanoma has been on the
skin, the deeper it’s likely to go and the greater chance it has of spreading to other
organs. It’s stereotypical, but men, don’t seem to
seek care as regularly as women do. About one-third of melanomas occur on the
backs of men, places where you don’t, typically look. And so, one of my colleagues, started
a campaign that’s the “Watch Your Back” campaign, having, middle aged men and older men get
some help in recognizing that melanomas are common on the back and also, having a family
member or spouse to be able to help look for those suspicious moles. It was really important for me to actually
realize that this is something you just need to do, just like you need to go to the dentist.
You need to have a check-up on your skin. I have a family, I want to live a long time
and see my kids grow up and have kids, and taking care of your skin will be one of those
things that’ll add to my list of things that I need to think about everyday.

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