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Your Healthy Family: Some skin cancers begin in our youth

Posted at 8:18 AM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 08:18:26-04

Some skin cancers can start in our youth. One Colorado Springs man said his current skin cancer battle, which has led to several surgeries, was born from all the sun exposure he got when he was young.

Vic McMillan said he hasn’t spent a lot of unprotected time in the sun since his younger days.

"I spent a lot of time in my youth in the sun, trying to get a tan. I don't tan well. Most of my time in the sun was before I graduated college," he said.

Now he said he puts on sunscreen every day like it’s aftershave.

"Let me tell you how scared I am of cancer. My granddad died of cancer, my two uncles died of cancer, my wife died of cancer four years ago. Cancer scares me," he said.

McMillan deals with Basal Cell Carcinoma — a form of skin cancer that typically doesn’t spread to other parts of the body, and was caused by sun exposure from when he was younger. McMillan's Dermatologist, Dr. Brett Matheson, said he represents a group of people who need to be especially aware of their skin health.

"Most of our patients are fair skinned people. Most have blue eyes and light skin color, and they don't tan well. They burn easily," Dr. Matheson with the Skin Cancer & Dermatology Center of Colorado Springs, said.

While Basal Cell Carcinoma is not a deadly form of skin cancer, it's still vital McMillan doesn't ignore the form of skin cancer he's constantly dealing with.

"Mr. McMillan's story really demonstrates, it's sun exposure early in life that can set you up for skin cancer decades later. Basal Cell Carcinoma can be a very destructive cancer. He comes in regularly and we catch those cancers early and take care of them," Dr. Matheson said.

McMillan has had to go through multiple surgeries, but his doctor said he's healed very well.