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Preventing skin cancer
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
Chances are you know someone affected by skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it's the most common type of cancer in the United States. Saturday afternoon, Altus Cancer Center in Beaumont celebrated survivors while hosting a free skin cancer screening.
Steve Reichert is fighting the disease. He spends a lot of his time working outdoors.
"As is common for a lot of men who spend a lot of time outdoors we'll develop what's called keratosis, little patches on hands, ear tips, nose, head whatever, any uncovered skin from ultraviolet damage," Reichert said.
Last year, he noticed a growth on top of his head. It was skin cancer.
"It's when we wait too long and let it get out of hand that you end up having the top of your head cut off it that's where the cancer is," he said pointing to a scar on his scalp.
With support from the Altus Foundation and his doctor, he was able to have surgery and is now getting ready to start radiation treatments.
"With Steve's case, again it reiterates many of the problems that we've seen before. If you treat skin cancers early they're usually very treatable," Dr.Benjamin Beckert said. He said the problem is when they're left undetected and untreated.
"Skin cancers are a very common cancer that we see and often times it's unrecognized," Beckert said.
He's one of several doctors trying to catch cases early at a free skin cancer screening event at Altus Cancer Center. Beckert said risk factors include genetics, age and exposure.
"If you are gonna be out in the sun, and everybody loves to be out in the sun in Southeast Texas, that's why we live here, protect yourself," Beckert said.
He recommends staying out of tanning beds, wearing sunscreen and protective clothing and limiting time in the sun during peak periods.
"Get checked early, get checked often if you're spending a lot of time in the sun," Reichert said. It's time he's now spending fighting cancer.