Mediaplanet: How did you discover you had skin cancer?

Brian Davis: The first time my wife noticed a mole on my neck, I went to the dermatologist and the biopsy was positive for basal cell. It’s not as bad as melanoma, but at that point I didn’t know much about it. I didn’t really know that it could exist throughout your whole body. People can get skin cancer between their toes. Once you’re susceptible to it, there could be something there.

Next I realized I had hard skin on the tip of my nose. I had a biopsy done and it was basal cell again. They gave me chemo cream and said to come back if it became hard again. After reoccurring three times, they cut my nose open and took the basal cell out, but underneath there was squamous cell. The doctor said I was incredibly lucky. If I had left it another six months, it would’ve gone down both sides of my face. I could have lost the tip of my nose. 

People are finally starting to understand how serious this is, but I think the process of recognizing and understanding needs to be accelerated. A lot of the sun creams that are on the market have a lot of harmful products in them. If you go to the dermatologist and get the pure alternatives, they are far more expensive. I’d like to see some of the bad chemicals in over-the-counter sun creams taken out. Our society as a whole would benefit from cleaning things up. 

MP: How can we take a more proactive approach to skin care awareness?

"People can get skin cancer between their toes. Once you’re susceptible to it, there could be something there."

BD: I think that times have changed with new media. People are obsessed with celebrities and post pictures of them on their social channels. That’s what the younger generation is growing up with and looking out for. They are always connected to these social networks and I think that’s how we can target the next generation — by having their role models make it look cool to do so. We need to educate younger generations. They don’t make the kids wear sunscreen in schools, even when they're outside for hours. You can never start too late, but we need to educate kids. It’s going to affect our kids even more as the sun gets stronger. 

MP: How do you take care of your skin now?

BD: It’s not just using a bar of soap anymore. When I shave, I never want to put sunscreen on right after because it will block my pores. I put my sunscreen on after I shower, apply it throughout the day and by the end of the day I’ve applied it about three times. I shower twice per day, because you need to make sure your skin is clean and moisturized as well. It’s about getting these skin care and sunscreen companies to present a product that emulates those you can get at the dermatologist. We need to take the parabens and the bad chemicals out. Also make sure you actually go see a dermatologist. I have seen one every six months after my diagnosis.