BOZEMAN — Even though there is less sunlight in the winter, basal cells and melanoma are still a concern and should still be checked for.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 7,650 people are expected to die of melanoma. One patient at Skincare MT shares her story about how they found a basal cell on her nose.
“I was actually just going in for a normal facial, and my esthetician Jessica made a comment about a spot and I noticed that the spot was there but never really thought of anything of it,” says Megan Polich.
Her Esthetician sent pictures of Polich's nose and confirmed it was in fact a basal cell.
“I think just like the borders is a little waxy didn't really follow a normal like pimple or just bump so it was just a little bit different of a texture,” says Polich.
Polich was surprised by the news of cancer but was no stranger to what a basal cell actually was.
Polich says she was, “A little shocked to find out that it was basal cell but again very thankful that we caught it early especially having a spot be on my face and very visible.”
Addison Collins is a Physician's Assistant at Skincare MT. She says the dermatology clinic sees around 120 patients a day and about 20 of them each day come in for basal cells or melanoma.
“Oftentimes, it is something that patients actually realize themselves and come in and then sometimes it's something that you had no idea you had and that's why we find it for you,” says Collins.
Collins says there are signs she tells clients to look for.
“Typically non-melanoma skin cancers manifest as a non-healing wound, kind of my rule of thumb that I tell my patients is itching, bleeding, ugly,” says Collins.
Collins recommends patients come in to do skin checks annually because the sun is still strong even in the winter.
“We live in an area where there's a lot of sun exposure for folks because there's a lot of active people out here in Gallatin Valley," says Collins, "We have really high UV rates because of how high we are.”
Preventing basal cell skin cancer is easier than you may think.
“A lot of non-melanoma skin cancers that are caused by the Sun are preventable by sunscreen or physical protection,” says Collins.
Polich has recovered from her basal cell removal and now knows the importance of getting her skin checked once a year.
“It's always better safe than to be sorry. Because you don't know what you don't know," says Polich.