As I write this on Sunday evening, Mother's Day, I reflect on the past year and what my mom and my mother-in-law have gone through. My mother-in-law suffered a stroke while we were fishing the Bull Shoals event last year (2012). She has since made a full recovery and even came to a tournament earlier this year.
Over the past year my mom has had skin cancer issues. She's had several spots cut from her arms and one from her eyelid, but is doing well. So, while finishing in second place earlier today at the Alabama River is a little painful, my family and their good health is more important.
As we push into the hotter months of the year, my mom's skin problems remind me of an important issue in our sport —skin cancer. As fishermen, we spend a lot of time in the sun. If the direct sunlight isn't bad enough, the water also reflects the sunlight back towards us all day. It's critical that we take care of our skin.
My first recommendation is to get checked by a doctor every year. One of the best ways to beat skin cancer is to catch it early. If it's not caught early, it will spread and can get much worse.
The next thing to do is cover up. Wear long sleeve shirts with built-in sun protection, long pants, a big funny-looking hat and even a sun gaiter (face, ears and neck cover up). If you insist on wearing shorts and flip flops, use a good quality sunscreen to help protect your skin. For the best sunscreen, check with your dermatologist or doctor.
And don't forget to protect your eyes. While it's easy to see if you get too much sun on your skin, your eyes can also be adversely affected by sunlight. Wear a good quality pair of sunglasses —I wear Costas —to protect them.
When it comes to the sun and your health, don't be the guy who says, "Not me —I don't have that skin type."
While it may be true that lighter-skinned individuals are more susceptible to the harmful rays of the sun, nobody is immune. Protect yourself even when it's not that hot or sunny outside. Some of the worst days for harmful sunlight are overcast or hazy days.
Happy belated Mother's Day to all the moms out there —especially my mom, my mother-in-law and the best mom of all, my wife Bobbi. Thanks for all that you have done and do.
Visit Brent's Facebook page and share your tip for sun protection to win a pair of Costa sunglasses.