You may not recognize his name, but you certainly would recognize his face: James Rebhorn has been working steadily on television and the big screen for over 30 years.
He’s been seen in Independence Day, Scent of a Woman and Meet the Parents. He was a regular on TV series Big Lake, Enlightened, and White Collar. He was the judge that sentenced Seinfeld and his friends to jail on the series finale. And his most recent role was that of Frank Mathison, Carrie’s father, on the Showtime series Homeland.
The 65-year-old actor died of the skin cancer melanoma. He was first diagnosed with the disease in 1992.
Your skin has many purposes. It protects your body from heat, injury, and infection. It also protects your body from damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation (such as from the sun or sunlamps). Your skin stores water and fat. It helps control body heat. Also, your skin makes vitamin D.
Basal cell skin cancer: Basal cell skin cancer begins in the basal cell layer of the skin. It usually occurs in places that have been in the sun. For example, the face is the most common place to find basal cell skin cancer. In people with fair skin, basal cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer.
Squamous cell skin cancer: Squamous cell skin cancer begins in squamous cells. In people with dark skin, squamous cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer, and it’s usually found in places that are not in the sun, such as the legs or feet. However, in people with fair skin, squamous cell skin cancer usually occurs on parts of the skin that have been in the sun, such as the head, face, ears, and neck.
Melanoma begins in melanocytes (pigment cells). Most melanocytes are in the skin.
Melanoma can occur on any skin surface. In men, it’s often found on the skin on the head, on the neck, or between the shoulders and the hips. In women, it’s often found on the skin on the lower legs or between the shoulders and the hips.
Melanoma is rare in people with dark skin. When it does develop in people with dark skin, it’s usually found under the fingernails, under the toenails, on the palms of the hands, or on the soles of the feet.
Risks for Any Type of Skin Cancer
Studies have shown that the following are risk factors for the three most common types of skin cancer:
Sunlight can be reflected by sand, water, snow, ice, and pavement. The sun’s rays can get through clouds, windshields, windows, and light clothing.
Additional risk factors for melanoma:
A dysplastic nevus is more likely than a common mole to turn into cancer. However, most do not change into melanoma. A doctor will remove a dysplastic nevus if it looks like it might have changed into melanoma.
Asymmetry; one half unlike the other half.
Border; irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
Color; varied from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue.
Diameter; while melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
Evolving; a mole or skinl esion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size,shape, or color.
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease, the size and place of the tumor, and your general health and medical history. In most cases, the goal of treatment is to remove or destroy the cancer completely. Most skin cancers can be cured if found and treated early.