Membership Matters: Routine Self-Exams Can Save Your Life

By Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau: It’s been 18 months since I noticed a small pimple-like sore with a crusty top on my arm. At that time, my Dermatologist performed a biopsy and found that I had a squamous cell carcinoma. I was fortunate, the surgery removed all the cancer and no radiation treatments were necessary. Since that time I routinely check my skin for any changes.

Did you know that nearly 80,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma this year?  Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. My doctor said that 98 percent of those diagnosed with early-stage melanoma will survive, but it's a much darker picture for those who don't find melanoma until it has spread beyond the skin to other organs. At that stage, the survival rate drops to just 16 percent. Melanoma is just one of several types of skin cancer. More than 3.5 million people will develop basal and squamous cell carcinoma this year.

Skin cancer is serious business so get naked in front of the mirror, take a closer look at your skin and perform a skin self-exam. If you see something funny or different, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

My Dermatologist told me, that patients, not doctors are most likely to spot melanoma because they are most familiar with changes on their own skin. In fact, more than half of all melanomas are detected by everyday people - just by paying attention to their or their loved ones' skin. So get naked in front of the mirror, take a closer look at your skin and perform a skin self-exam. If you see something funny or different, make an appointment with a dermatologist. 

Don't be afraid to ask your doctor about a mole you're not sure about. Ask your spouse, your partner, or family member to help you keep track of suspicious moles and check hard-to-see places. Don't be shy - cancer doesn't discriminate. Skin cancer can develop on anyone - no matter their age, gender or race.  

Remember, Arizona Farm Bureau member benefits also feature healthcare services including insurance, prescription card and other offers.  Farm Bureau agents offer Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance too.

Editor’s note: For more information on our member benefits go to Arizona Farm Bureau’s member benefits page online. Or, download the Member Benefits app to your smart phone for easy, everyday access to your benefits.

Join our Family!