By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A summer warning from doctors about the dangers of sun and skin cancer. It’s a growing problem that can cause disfiguring scars. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl shows you what can happen, but we want to warn you some of the video might be disturbing.
Raquel Guckeen has a new morning routine, taking care of scars.
The 44-year-old mother had two devastating cases of skin cancer, paying the price for years of baking in the sun.
“I was once a teenage girl who wanted to tan because it made me feel beautiful. It’s not worth it. I used to think, it will never happen to me. Well here I am,” said Raquel.
“We see younger and younger people all the time with skin cancer,” said Dr. Naomi Lawrence, with Cooper University Hospital. She says most people don’t realize how devastating skin cancer can be.
“It feels good to be out in the sun, so I think it’s hard to get people to really look upon it as something that’s dangerous for them,” said Dr. Lawrence.
Raquel’s ordeal started when she noticed a spot on her cheek.
“When I would wash my face it would bleed. It would go away and come back,” said Raquel.
She was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. After this first surgery, she found another spot on her nose, and had another much more difficult operation.
“The literally, when they did the surgery, had to take off almost the entire top of my nose,” said Raquel.
Then she had reconstruction, something called a forehead flap.
“Piece of tissue cut from her forehead and then turned down connected to her nose, at which later it’s divided after this has healed,” said Dr. Jeff Squires, a Dermatologist.
The finger-like attachment is skin transplanted from Raquel’s forehead. After six weeks, Raquel will have another reconstructive surgery to shape her new nose.
“My daughter is like nope, you gotta smile. It shows your inner strength, mom. You gotta do it,” said Raquel.
Raquel is sharing her story so people will see what can happen and why it’s so important to protect yourself from the sun. She wants people to watch out for the early signs of skin cancer, which can also be deadly.