It's the "Big C" word: Cancer.
And, rightfully so, it scares us and makes us think dreadful thoughts, such as prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and the list goes on and on.
But for some reason many of us are not as scared of the "little c" word: skin cancer.
Every day we look at that mole on our arm that appears to have changed shape or that dark spot on the top of our ear that doesn't look quite right and we say, "Ah, it's nothing."
That's a mistake, a very big and dangerous mistake because that "little" intruder can be something capable of producing big problems.
With that in mind, two local doctors - Dr. Jeffrey Morgan and Dr. Gary McAfoos - will be holding a free skin cancer screening later this month to make sure all those worrisome little spots truly are "nothing."
Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with a type of skin cancer, or it has been us sitting in the doctor's office when the phrase "skin cancer" is first spoken. And at that point, our first thought is invariably, "I should have done something sooner."
That's the purpose of the skin cancer screening.
There are many types of skin cancer; the three major ones are melanoma, squamous cell, and basal cell which, according to one doctor, "If you're going to have skin cancer, that's the type you want to have."
Melanoma, on the other hand, "is a potentially fatal skin cancer," according to Dr. McAfoos. "There is no good treatment for melanoma beyond surgery. Once it spreads, then surgery is no longer curative and there's no other good treatment for it."
Are you scared of the "little c" word yet? You should be.
The number of skin cancer cases in Warren County is high, according to Dr. Morgan, because of our northern European ancestry. "The light-skinned people get them more frequently," he said.
So, right now, do a mental scan of those little spots on your body that have given you pause. Then put down this newspaper and pick up the phone and call 723-2770 to register for the skin cancer screening.
It will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 24, at Family Medicine Pine Grove, and pre-registration is required so don't hesitate.
See you there.