Why Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer is Worth Your Time

Why Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer is Worth Your Time


(upbeat music) – Welcome back. It’s the most common cancer in America. Every year, skin cancer is diagnosed in more than 3 1/2 million cases. – May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and TV 20’s Emily Burris takes a look at advances in screening and treatment, and why it’s so important to lead to better results in the long run. – They just kept popping up. – [Emily] Gerald Findley of Gainesville has been dealing with skin
cancer for more than 50 years. – 1956 was my first treatments. – [Emily] The 81-year-old
spent many summers in the Gulf sun before wearing
sunscreen was even an option. – I lived in Andalusia, Alabama, which is 60 miles from
Fort Walton Beach. (laughs) And of course, I have a fair complexion. Every summer, I just got cooked. – [Emily] It’s no surprise
then that Findley has struggled with several instances of
squamous cell carcinoma. – There is basal-cell skin cancer, which happens to be the most common cancer of anything in the entire world. Squamous cell cancer and the most deadliest of
all skin cancers, melanoma, those are the three main
types of skin cancer. – [Emily] While basal-cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are nowhere near as deadly as melanoma, they are still a problem. Basal-cell carcinoma is rarely fatal, but can be highly
disfiguring if not treated. And it’s estimated that between four and 8,000 people died in the U.S. from squamous cell carcinoma in 2012. – If you let a squamous
cell carcinoma progress, it can spread to the regional lymphatics and it could spread distantly also. – [Emily] While Findley was proactive in treating his cancer, he’s been treating it for a long time. – We’d get four or five
of ’em all the time, every time, and they would just come back. – [Emily] After years of other treatments, even going so far as two skin grafts, Findley turned to radiation. – He had undergone every treatment known to mankind basically, from cryotherapy to
electrodesiccation curettage, to wide local excision,
to topical chemo agents, and it kept coming back. He actually had a prior
radiation treatment back in 1958 and after they exhausted, basically, all options, they sent the patient to us. – [Emily] He sought treatment at North Florida Regional Medical Center with doctor Chris Balamucki. – I treat a lot of skin cancers, mainly in the head and neck region, and it’s where an area’s where a surgery, whether it be Mohs or wide local incision, can cause either a functional or cosmetic outcome that’s undesirable. – [Emily] Fitted with
a special lead helmet to protect his healthy
skin, Findley underwent 6 1/2 weeks of radiation
therapy on his forehead, where squamous cell
carcinoma was recurring. Now, several months out,
that skin is cancer-free. – I went to my 63rd class
reunion with a beautiful head. ( Gerald laughing) – Findley says he now
uses sunblock all the time and offers this advice for anyone younger who thinks they don’t have
to worry about the sun. – If you wanna be tan, go
to get painted up. (laughs) – Doctor Balamucki says even
with other surgical treatments, radiation therapy is often used to prevent leftover cancer
cells from spreading. Watch TV 20 news tomorrow at 5:30, live, as we show you the best ways to prevent and screen for cancer, to treat things before they become a problem. Emily Burris, TV 20 news.

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