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The naked truth about skin cancer

"I would plead with farmers to get their skin checked. It's so important — if I catch something early, it's no big deal."

Shelley E. Huguley

May 14, 2018

15 Slides

May is National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month and clinics throughout the U.S. are hosting free skin cancer screenings to identify any skin spots that may be of concern and need to be treated by a dermatologist. The University Medical Center Southwest Cancer Center in Lubbock, Texas, hosted one such event, Saturday, May 12. And after checking sprinklers, my farmer and I headed to Lubbock to have our skin checked.

I am a child of the generation that thought laying out lathered in baby oil was a good idea. All to say, I've had some pretty major sunburns. My farmer, Preston Huguley, on the other hand, is red-headed and fair skinned and has been working under the sun's harmful rays since he was a boy. 

If I ever wondered if my farmer loves me, after Saturday, I have no doubt. Not only did he take the morning off from planting but he agreed to be photographed and in a hospital gown, no less, for this gallery! But if this encourages one farmer, one rancher and or their spouses to have their skinned checked, it will all be worth it.

Dr. Ashley Sturgeon, a farmer’s wife and assistant professor of dermatology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, performed our screening. As she looked at my husband's skin she found areas of concern she says will require a broadcast application of treatment, in other words, a lotion that is spread throughout an entire area, whereas other spots she identified, she says will only need to be spot-sprayed or burned off. She did label one spot on my farmer's hand as a "big careless weed," which he will get treated this fall or when and if it decides to rain. 

“If you catch things early, its most often an easy fix,” says Sturgeon. "I would plead with farmers to get their skin checked. It's so important — if I catch something early, it's no big deal. If you wait until it becomes noticeable to you that's when it can be a problem. And skin cancer can go from not a big deal to a really big deal and just a matter of months so get your skin checked."

To find a free skin cancer screening location or to learn more about skin cancer, go to: https://bit.ly/2jlBjOs

Sturgeon says common areas that farmers and ranchers develop skin spots are on the top of their ears, noses, hands and back of the neck. She recommends wearing sunscreen with an spf of 30 and wearing long sleeves. Most importantly, she urges those work outdoors to reapply their sunscreen every couple of hours. 

See Farmer’s wife/dermatologist urges farmers, ranchers to protect their skin.

See Videos: Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month kicks off, free skin screenings offeredMelanoma Monday: Part II

To learn about the ABCDEs of melanoma.




About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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