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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 31, 2001

The Left Lane
Spotlight: skin cancer

President George W. Bush said exposure to strong Texas sun is to blame for his skin growths.

Advertiser library photo

The Skin Cancer Foundation is using President Bush's bout with precancerous skin lesions as an opportunity to remind people to wear sunscreen and seek shade. Make that a resolution for the coming year.

Bush had several skin growths removed two weeks ago with liquid nitrogen — his second treatment in 2001. Doctors say exposure to the strong Texas sun is to blame for the president's skin spots, including two potentially cancerous growths, clinically known as actinic keratoses, on his cheeks. Such growths can lead to skin cancer if left untreated. He also has had two less-serious growths, known as seborrheic keratoses, removed from his forehead and temple.

Actinic keratosis is the most common form of skin precancer, occurring in more than 5 million Americans. Growths are likely to appear as crusty, scaly or crumbly bumps on parts of the body exposed to the sun. The Texas sun isn't nearly as intense as Hawai'i's. Regular checkups and use of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher are recommended.

— Tanya Bricking, Advertiser staff writer