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My grandfather's face showed the signs of the hot, Oklahoma sun. He is missing part of an ear and part of the nose, and scars marked the rest of his face.

Skin cancer attacked him viciously. Therefore, he wore long sleeved shirts, a hat and jeans - and that wasn't just because he was a cowboy. He later died of liver cancer; I wonder if that cancer was connected with his skin cancer.

My mother has had melanomas removed, and I have, too. Skin cancer has left a troubling legacy in the family. Therefore, we have had to learn how to look for possible cancers and how to prevent them.

Here are some tips for looking for troublesome spots on your skin.
1. When in doubt, have it checked. Have your doctor do a biopsy on any spot that is worrisome. You are not qualified to diagnose yourself. That is why we have doctors, including specialists. There have been people who have thought nothing was wrong with certain moles, and they developed cancer. There have been doctors who have thought nothing was wrong with certain moles, and the patients later died. Insist on biopsies.

2. Has the spot changed any? If you have pronounced changes in the size, shape or color of a mole, see a doctor immediately. Troublesome spots can have a mixture of colors and/or jagged borders. Brown, gray skin lesions can indicate a problem. Also, look for inflammation or changes of texture of the skin. If the mole has an ulceration or is bleeding, you need to have the mole checked by a physician.

3. Do you have high risk? My family's history causes me to watch for any skin problems. Also, people exposed to the sun should be cautious. And, past problems means that you should check out moles for the rest of your life.

Skin cancer can be fatal. Therefore, use sunscreen and clothes to limit your exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun. And, take care of yourself by going to the physician regularly and bringing any suspicious spots to his or hers attention. And, if the doctor won't do a biopsy, find one who will.