PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s the second most common cancer in the United States with 1 million cases expected to be diagnosed this year. But a new survey shows that most people don’t know about it.
Ed Matthews spent many of his younger years working as a caddie on the golf course.
“That was five, six days a week out in the sun,” Matthews said.
Little did Matthews know, all of that sun exposure would lead to a series of bouts with skin cancer.
Matthews’ biggest scare came when he noticed a small bump on his neck.
“Then it became from a pea to the size of a bean and then it blew up to a half of a golf ball,” Matthews said.
Matthews was diagnosed with the advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma — or CSCC.
It usually strikes fairly skinned older people.
“As it grows it can become scaly, red, inflamed,” NYU Langone Health Dr. Ariel Ostad said. “Ultimately it can become painful as it gets bigger.”
The Skin Care Foundation is raising awareness about this type of skin cancer.
A new survey shows 42% of Americans have never heard of CSCC, even though it causes more deaths than melanoma.
Matthews is among the 40,000 people treated for advanced CSCC every year.
“He not only went under surgery to remove that mass on his neck,” Ostad said, “but all the lymph nodes had to be removed.”
Matthews needed radiation and chemotherapy.
He now regularly checks his body for any skin changes — the first sign of skin cancer.
“When I’m shaving, I’m looking around a little bit or feeling it,” he said.
Matthews has been in remission for three years.
Doctors say the best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid sun exposure and by using sunscreen every day along with getting annual skin checks.