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horwendil 07-05-2003 00:16

Skin Cancer from Long-Term Sun Exposure
I have previously lived aboard in the Med. and have not suffered from any adverse effects, but my partner, Joanne is asking what do blue water cruisers normally do - use a constant supply of lotions, cover up, sit in the shade or what? She wants to enjoy the sun, but doesn't want to end up paranoic about possible side effects.

GordMay 07-05-2003 03:51

Re: Skin cancer from long term sun exposure
"cruisers normally do - use a constant supply of lotions, cover up, sit in the shade" .

Yep, that about covers it.

delmarrey 07-05-2003 10:47

Fun in the sun
I spent most of my youth in the sun countries and on the water. It caught up to me when I turned 45. I had a mole on the side of my nose where my sun glasses sit. It started out as a little tiny spot like a black head and kept growing. It took around a year to become the size of a small rasin. That's when I went in to get it taken off because it was interfering with sun and safety glasses. A few days later I got a call from the Doc telling me it was a cancer and I need to come back in. I ended up going to a specialist and they cut and cut until they got it all. If I had waited another year it would have worked it's way towards the eye and who knows where.
Now I wear a hat anytime I'm out of doors, and when on the boat I add the #30 or higher sun screen. Besides, the sun dries out the skin and makes the wrinkles that woman complain about. My father was a Merchant Marine for 30 years and when he was at the age that I am now, he looked 10 years older than I do. Tell her to cover up.

Gisle 07-05-2003 17:22

Thank you for starting this important thread horwendil :cool:

I moved it to the Medic forum, but left a redirect in the Sailing forum.

delmarrey's post shows us the reality on this matter, so we'd better do like Gord and stay in the shade more while cruising.

Personally I enjoy getting the dark tan and I'm not too keen on wearing sunscreen. I prefer clothes and the shade to reduce and regulate the exposure, but I know it's important to put on sunscreen on exposed skin (nose, ears, ...) while cruising.


sail_the_stars 27-07-2003 07:51

An ocean is a desert with it's life underground
I worked outside in the desert for a year. I can't say enough about 45 SPF lotion. UV is absorbed by vegetaion. Deserts and oceans have one thing in common; nothing to absorb UV: only reflect it.

Do "all the things cruisers do".

There is also a fabric you can buy called "suncreen"; if you know how to sew it is excellent for bimini tops or shades. It lets a lot of air through but depending on weave is designed to block 60 to 90% of light and UV radiation.

My RV is a dismasted desrt yacht: the trannie is out. I sewed a cover for it out of this fabric. It cuts our electric bill for AC by half.

Don't forget UV burns skin even through many types of cloud cover. Learn your weather to know the types.

Great thread. Thanks. Hope this helps. PAUL

gonesail 15-10-2009 11:02

i just had a wart looking growth on my nose as well .. waited several months and went to the doctor for a biopsy. it was cancerous and they needed to remove more. it leaves a scar where they cut the flesh out but there is no alternative other than letting it continue to grow. i still see pictures of adults in the sailing mags getting sunburnt .. not good. wear a hat and manage your exposure.

Solitude 15-10-2009 11:14

Light long sleve shirts always... Long pants as well, I use SPF 30 on my face head hands. I put it on as part of my morning routine.

Cheechako 15-10-2009 11:16

Yes, it's an issue. Good hats for sure. Probably the most important thing is the Bimini... gotta have it!

roverhi 15-10-2009 12:05

I'm another one who is suffering from my youthful indiscretion. My dermatologist loves me. She's constantly freezing pre-cancerous growths off my head mostly but arms and body as well. Up until last year, the few growths that looked serious enough to biopsy came up negative for cancer. Had a little, like the size of a pin head, scab on my forehead that came back after the Nitrogen burn. Turned out to be squamish (sp) cell cancer, the easy to cure kind. The doctor ended up removing about a silver dollar sized piece of skin and tissue to get it all. Had to have a bit of plastic surgery so I didn't end up with a permanently lifted eyebrow.

One thing I learned is don't think just because an area has seen no or limited sun that it won't develop skin cancer. An irregular patch/discoloration or rough area anywhere on the body is cause for concern. Waiting is not your friend.

GordMay 15-10-2009 12:39

It’s gratifying to see an important cruisers’ issue resurface, after a 6-year dormancy.
Any new ideas?

ps: Maggie (fair skinned) gets p-c growths burnt off every 6 months, or so. I've (dark skinned) got huge, lumpy/textured moles that (I'm told) aren't pc, and don't require treatment.

SkiprJohn 15-10-2009 16:51

Very important as Gord says. My first sun damage cancerous tumor showed up when I was 40 on my lower lip. I've been a sailor and runner all my life and since leaving Oregon I've lived in the tropics most of the time. I've had a constant battle with minor and not so minor skin lesions since, so by all means use every available method to protect yourself. It is the curse of fair skinned Northern European ancestry. Remember sunglasses for the eyes too. Every 6 months is a new experience with the dermatologist.
Please tell all your relatives and friends to stay away from tanning booths as well. They might be even worse.

Chief Engineer 15-10-2009 17:52

A few years ago there was an open house at a new Health Center run by Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.....They had all kinds of free exams (yea guys THAT ONE too).

I took the opportunity to have a dermotologist look at my bald head....even with a hat on most of the time I had a number of actinic keatoses.....I go into him (along with my dad0 regularly......that nitrogen doesn't hurt as much as wackin your noggin
in some of the "factory boats"

s/v Beth 15-10-2009 20:01

Kinda fun to hear about my work from your side. I recommend hooded robes, long sleeved shirts and long pants. Doesn't have to be heavy, a lightweight shirt is fine. Oh yea, you can look at my Avatar for a hat. I don't know if lotions help, but sunblock certainly does.
I also avoid being out in the noonday sun. "Only mad dogs and Englishmen are out in the noonday sun"
Disclaimer: I am not a Dermatologist. I just help their patients through surgery.:)

SkiprJohn 15-10-2009 20:12

Thanks Newt,
We need all the help we can get.

Boracay 15-10-2009 21:19

Endorsing the above...
Had a few cut out myself. Now I visit a skin cancer centre once a year.

If you need "educating up" on the topic click here.

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