Lincoln man thankful skin cancer wasn’t worse but says it could have been prevented

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – May marks Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and a Lincoln man is shedding light on his journey.

Vince Ganshorn, 53, went for his annual visit to the dermatologist last year when his doctor noticed something off on his forehead. A biopsy determined that it was basal cell skin cancer.

Luckily, this type has a 99% cure rate.

“I had the freedom to not get too emotional about the situation, so I was relieved with that,” Ganshorn said.

He underwent radiation therapy at CHI Health St. Elizabeth and is now cancer-free.

But looking back, he believes that this whole thing could have been prevented.

“A lot of the experiences I have had in life could have been avoided with, in my youth, proper sunscreen, so you do pay for it in the end,” Ganshorn said. “You just don’t think about it when you’re young.”

Roughly 10,000 people a day in the U.S. are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer, with basal cell being the most common and treatable.

Doctors are most concerned with melanomas.

“These can spread into the lymph nodes or even to other organs, those, unfortunately, can be fatal sometimes,” said Dr. Kevin Yiee, the medical director of radiation oncology at CHI Health St. Elizabeth.

Yiee said it can take just a couple of bad sunburns or too much time in a tanning bed for skin cancer to accumulate.

He hopes that by taking simple steps, we can prevent a lot of heartache.

“It’s the UV rays from the sun that can cause cancer, and oftentimes, even if it’s not a sunny day, the UV rays are there, even on a cloudy day,” Yiee said. “And so, it’s important if you go outside for any extended amount of time, to use sunscreen.”

Yiee recommends using a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.

For Ganshorn, he’s living his life to the fullest and moving on from the diagnosis.

He’s just thankful — because it could have been much worse.

“I have friends that have had the bad cancer that spread, and I have seen what their arms looked like as a result of trying to get rid of it,” Ganshorn said. “And it’s very serious, very intense and life-threatening, and you hate for anyone to go through that.”

The best person to detect something is you.

If you notice changes to a mole, it’s best to talk with your doctor.

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