Please introduce yourself — Tell us who you are, what you do & where you come from.
My name is Jenna Colgrove and I work in finance in the media industry and run a lifestyle blog here in California!
What was your attitude to sun protection when you were younger?
Probably average! I didn’t go to tanning booths or spend a lot of time tanning but I wasn’t as diligent with sub protection as I should have been, always being outdoors playing softball and tennis.
What kind of skin cancer were you diagnosed with?
How did you feel when you were diagnosed?
My world stopped! I had no family history, hadn’t ever used a tanning bed, wore sunscreen regularly, didn’t have too many severe sun burns … none of the things that usually lead to skin cancer!
What were your treatment options? What did you decide on and why?
Given it was melanoma, there was no choice other than to remove the tissue with standard margins. Since the spot was on my ankle, I also needed a skin graft from my groin to provide extra skin since my ankle didn’t have enough after removing 1cm of tissue on all sides.
What is your attitude towards sun protection today?
Religious! I apply sunscreen daily and reapply to the 2-hour window especially when in the sun. I also avoid being exposed in general and wear long sleeves/pants/hates as much as possible!
What are your best sun protection tips?
Apply and RE-apply sunscreen! Ideally, a mineral sunscreen because it is a physical blocker - just like UPF clothing!
What would you tell your 16-year-old self about taking care of your skin and sun protection?
I would stress the importance of sun protection and educate on the consequences. I would also stress that getting a full body skin exam annually is crucial for everyone - if I had known this, we would have been able to catch my melanoma sooner!
What would you tell other women who aren’t too concerned with sun safety and skin protection, especially young women?
Sharing my story, and the scars and long road to recovery will hopefully be impactful enough! A full-body skin exam is SUCH an easy doctor visit - it takes 15 minutes, and the doctor looks at your skin. I had no idea annual skin exams were recommended until I went through this, so I wish these were more widespread standards. Sun protection from sunscreen and UPF clothing is an easy plan to implement to save yourself the pain of going through a skin cancer surgery. And if you want to be tan, self-tanner is an amazing thing!