1. Believe, “skin cancer can’t happen to me. I won’t be one of the 10,000 Americans diagnosed daily with skin cancer.” If you apply sunscreen, use the lowest number you can find and apply it like a typical American who puts it on so thin that they achieve only a quarter to half the protection listed on the sunscreen bottle.
3. Marinate in the sun for your vitamin D, even though half of Hawaiian surfers who spent 29 hours/week in the sun year-round were vitamin D deficient
4. Ignore non-healing sores lasting more than a month – especially on the face.
5. If you wear a hat, use a visor or baseball hat, and stay away from hats with a 2” or wider circumferential brim.
6. Win the ‘lobster-man’ or ‘lobster-woman’ award for the best ‘grimace-inducing sunburn’ at your local Yacht Club – as many years running as possible.
7. Choose parents who will give you fair skin, for as a red-headed, fair-skinned Irish priest patient once said, “The Irish are God’s gift to dermatology.”
8. Repeat, “Skin cancer can’t happen to me. I won’t be in the one-third of Americans who will grow one by the age of 70.”
9. Braise in a tanning bed to acquire the mythical ‘base tan’ that requires killing skin cells to alert other skin cells to make a tan – that provides as much protection as SPF 3 (three!) sunscreen – and don’t forget, the tanning bed rays accelerate skin wrinkles compared to the sun. Wrinkles give your face character.
10. Bake exposed skin in the sun as close to the equator – and to mid-day – as possible.
11. Fertilize and cultivate your garden in the middle of the day. Not only does the sun feed your fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but nothing motivates a skin cancer like sunlight!
12. Appreciate those multi-colored, growing “moles” – after all, they’re just ‘beauty marks,’ and they can’t kill anyone (except 7,200 other people annually in America).
13. Avoid websites like www.skincancer. org that could help you prevent skin cancer or get it diagnosed early.
14. Contribute monthly (and don’t forget to fill out your company matching-gift form) to “MakeAmericaTanAgain.Com.”
If you have already had a skin cancer, follow all of these instructions, because doing these things will reduce your number of future cancers.
15. Stew slowly with the thought, “Skin cancer can’t happen to me”, and believe, ”Skin cancer isn’t a big deal, even if I get it, because Hugh Jackman and Melanie Griffith have proven that you can still be attractive with cancer surgery scars on your nose.”
Put your dermatologist on speed-dial; he/she will want to admire the results of your efforts.
TOM MCGOVERN is a Legate who practices Mohs Surgery full-time at Fort Wayne Dermatology Consultants in Fort Wayne, IN. He co-hosts the Doctor, Doctor radio shows/podcasts for the Catholic Medical Association.