First Person: KWTX anchor has brush with skin cancer

(Photo by Randy Davis)
(Photo by Randy Davis)(KWTX)
Published: Jul. 21, 2017 at 6:38 PM CDT
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I knew something was wrong when I found a spot on my nose that just wouldn't heal.

During a visit with my physician, he agreed that I should have a dermatologist check it out.

Dr. Russell Rowe with the U.S. Dermatology Associates of Waco said he would have to do a biopsy and the results would take a week.

That was one of the longest weeks of my life.

Then I got the call with the diagnosis.

It was good news and bad news; squamous cell carcinoma.

Those words stuck in my head like a bad dream.

That was actually the good news.

This type of skin cancer is more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, but far less life threatening than melanoma.

The bad news, it would still require surgery.

A lot of questions ran through my mind.

How effective is the treatment?

What are the risks of it spreading?

How bad will the scarring be?

When can I anchor again?

Dr. Rowe assured me that the surgery would be successful with very little scarring.

We caught it early and that's the second most important thing when dealing with skin cancer.

The first is prevention.

"We think of three things. Prevention of course which means wearing a good sunscreen anytime during sun exposure. Then early detection. If we can catch it early enough even melanoma can be treated effectively,” Dr. Rowe said.

“Then it's treatment. And again if we catch it soon enough the treatment is highly effective."

I've had a lot of people ask me how I knew it was time to see a doctor.

Dr. Rowe says if you have anything suspicious on your skin then it's time to see a doctor.

Better yet, he said that everyone should have an annual skin screening.

"If everyone would come in once a year, that way we could watch for any pre-cancerous areas and be ready to treat any problem that arises. Again, it's all about early detection." He said.

We all know that the best tool in preventing skin cancer is a good sunscreen but we all have a dozen reasons why we don't wear it.

None of them is good enough.

Personally, sunscreen is with me everywhere I go now.

I don't want to go through this again.

(Dr. Rowe removed the cancerous area on Wednesday and Gordon was back at work the same day--although not at the anchor desk)