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Real Patients: Risk Factors


I grew up in Southern California, and I would take my shirts off the whole summer. 

We didn’t wear shirts. We were outside all day long. 

My sun exposure when I was younger was outside to play all day every day. 

From sunrise to sunset.

Growing up I was outdoors a lot. I played a lot of sports from a very young age. 

My Scandinavian background gave me a very light skin. 

I’ve always had a fair complexion.

I was always a child with a lot of freckles and spots on my body. 

My hair was very, very white blonde at that time and fair-skinned. So, I remember having sunburns that blistered and peeled. 

I was prone to sunburn and blistering. 

I’m fairly dark complected so didn’t really think about getting my skin checked a whole lot. 

And as a child, you know, we didn’t have sunscreen back then. 

We had no sunscreen in the 50s and 60s when I was a young girl.

I was always the lifeguard in my summer high school days. 

My dad built us a pool.

I don’t really remember using a lot of sunscreen with a lot of protection. 

We just spent hours out there in the pool.

As I moved into my teenage years, it was important to have a good tan. So, we literally, you know, would put the baby oil and iodine on and literally lay out in the sun.

So, I spent my career flying fighters, so glass bubble cockpits. 

I always got burned. Everybody got burned. 

I remember playing softball and just getting my nose really burnt.

And real exposure to sun and did not do a whole lot of preventative measures during at that time. 

I do have family history of skin cancer. 

My mother did have skin cancer. 

My siblings who all had skin cancer as well and so now I try to do everything I can to prevent skin cancer in the future. 

The sun did a number on my skin. 

I wish I had known then what I know now.