By Bruce DePuyt
Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan spent Monday working from Government House, aides said, following an outpatient procedure to remove four cancerous lesions over the weekend.
Hogan announced Thursday that an annual check-up with his dermatologist led to the diagnosis of four basal and squamous cell lesions — the most common and easily treated forms of skin cancer — on his face and stomach. Aides said Monday that Saturday’s procedure in Annapolis “went well, with no issues or complications, and he is working from home.”
Hogan said a youth spent in the sun probably made him a prime candidate for skin cancer, telling reporters, “One of the best jobs I ever had before becoming governor was being a lifeguard in Florida for six years. I wanted to look good, with a dark tan, so I never put sunscreen on. I spent a lot of time baking in the sun.”
Indeed, experts say that exposure to the sun boosts the chances of skin cancer significantly. “The ultraviolet radiation that your body accumulates is cumulative over time,” said Dr. George Verghese, a dermatologist based in Waldorf. “It’s not just something that happened yesterday or the week before.
“Your skin cells … have only a certain number of DNA repair enzymes that can repair these insults from ultraviolet radiation. Once these get knocked out, that’s when these basals, squamouses and melanomas occur.”
Verghese said Hogan’s doctor is likely to want to perform a follow-up exam every six months. “Once you get a skin cancer, the chance of getting another one is 50 percent, so more than likely he’s going to get another one. But the trick is to catch them early. That way they’re easily treated and they don’t turn into a big deal,” Verghese said.
Verghese recommends use of a broad spectrum sunscreen, at least 30 SPF.
After sharing his diagnosis with reporters last week, Hogan urged Marylanders to be prudent when it comes to sun exposure.
“My advice to everybody out there listening is to please pay attention when they tell you to use sunscreen. … I’m going to be passing out little tubes of 50 SPF to everybody I can find,” the governor said.