Look At My Skin

Hugh Royer endured seven surgeries and 30 rounds of radiation to beat skin cancer.
"You don't ever give up. If I had given up and listened to some of the advice that I was given, we wouldn't be speaking today. Don't worry about upsetting the doctor. It's your body, it's your life. And if you think you need a second opinion, get it, because you know, that could wind up being the person or the situation that does save your life."
— Hugh Royer, skin cancer survivor


MUSC Hollings Cancer Center Cancer Chat graphic

Episode Details

July 2021

Run Time: 38:24

Topics: skin cancer, skin cancer screenings, melanoma, sun protection, sunscreen

With the Lowcountry sun out in full force, Dr. Andrea Abbott and pro golfer and skin cancer survivor Hugh Royer talk about skin cancer awareness and screenings as well as tips on how to protect yourself from the sun while enjoying summer weather.

Narration (00:01): Coming up on this episode of Cancer Chat…

Hugh Royer (00:03): Not until I got to Hollings and MUSC did I learn that from Dr. Graboyes that it was an aggressive form, whether it's squamous, melanoma or basal, you know, they're all easily treatable. If they're caught early.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (00:20): This is Dr. Andrea Abbott surgical oncologist at Hollings Cancer Center. I'm here today with Mr. Hugh Royer, a professional golfer who unfortunately was a patient at MUSC back in 2018. He's here today to share some of the pearls of wisdom that he learned while being a patient, and hopefully raise some awareness for skin cancer and skin cancer screenings. Hugh, thanks for being with us today.

Hugh Royer (00:46): My absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (00:48): So as you may be aware skin cancer rates are unfortunately increasing in South Carolina and across the United States. I'm curious, did you have regular skin screenings before you were diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma?

Hugh Royer (01:04): To be honest, when I was on the PGA tour. Yes. they had doctors come out about every three months and we would go in through the fitness trailer and they would check us out and whatnot. Once I was more in the private sector, working, teaching golf and whatnot you know, I go to the, to the skin doc, to the dermatologist and get checked, but I was told, you know, unless something comes up, you know, don't worry about it. You're fine. Cause every time they check in, they say, okay, you're good. You got a clean bill of health, whatever something happens, let us know. And when that did happen in 2012, I went back to the dermatologist, told me it was just, basal no big deal. And it had come back basal cell aggressive. And I wasn't told that. And as we know the protocol for that's every three months, if you have an aggressive form of basal.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (02:00): Yeah. So you bring up a good point. Let's talk about how often self screening and then screening with a health professional should take place. So definitely I think that's good advice that you were given that, you know, definitely looking at your skin, taking note of anything that's new, that's popping up as we get older. Unfortunately new things tend to pop up more regularly. I like to counsel my patients that if something new shows up on your skin, take a picture of it. We, most of us have smartphones. Now take a picture, compare that picture in two weeks, if it's growing, changing or not going away, then that's something you might want to bring up to your dermatologist here in the low country, we get a lot of sun exposure or if people have grown up in areas with sun exposure or they didn't wear a lot of sunscreen, I do recommend seeing a dermatologist at least once a year.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (02:45): And anyone who's had a skin cancer diagnosis, basal cell melanoma, Merkel cell or squamous cell should probably go every three months to every six months, depending on the aggressiveness of that diagnosis. So you kind of alluded to the start of your cancer journey that you were diagnosed with an aggressive basal cell. I think people don't know quite as much about basal cell. It trying to get labeled as one of those types of skin cancers that maybe isn't that aggressive. Do you mind sharing your story and how that process went for you?

Hugh Royer (03:24): You know, to be honest, I was never told it was aggressive. I was just told it was basal. Not until I got to Hollings and MUSC did I learn from Dr. Graboyes from Evan Graboyes that it was an aggressive form. And I learned that from Dr. Rosner here. You know, who's the doctor that sent me down to MUSC and I, it kind of shocked me because, you know, you don't really know you, you hear basal and everybody says, oh, that's no big deal. That's easily curable. And it infuriates me to hear that because people don't understand that any one of the three, whether it's squamous melanoma or basal, you know, they're all easily treatable. If they're called early, you know, they curable [inaudible] or controllable, I should say. And, you know, you let things go because, oh, it's basal, it's no big deal.

Hugh Royer (04:27): You know, and as we've come to find out with what I've had, that there was no scientific evidence to what basal cell aggressive would do until my case, because nobody's ever let it go this far. And to find out that it would go down nerves. And when Dr. Graboyes finally got it after probably 16 hours worth of surgery, I mean, I had two different surgeries while I was down there. One was seven and a half and the other one was probably pretty much the same, if not a little longer. It was a centimeter from my brain.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (05:08): So let's take a step back and talk about basal cell. You know, you were saying that people tend to have this misconception, that this is something that's easily treatable, and maybe it gets overlooked. So just for people who are listening, you know, the four types of skin cancers that we talk about most are basal cell, and that tends to appear as something that's pearly in color. I'm not sure what color yours was, but it does tend to occur on the years and the face and the head and neck but tends to be like a little nodule or a little bump that can be kind of skin colored or flesh colored. Squamous cell tends to be maybe a little bit more flat, tends to be something that might have a red appearance to, it might be a little itchy. Maybe it looks like little scab.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (05:57): That's not going away. As you alluded to, we tend to think of those as being more easily treatable and really to clarify what that means is the amount of surgery. If detected early, maybe isn't as wide. Maybe it's not as much removal of tissue. Maybe you don't need lymph node evaluation for those two. Whereas with melanoma and Merkel cell, which are thought to be the more aggressive types, you do need a more extensive surgery with more tissue removed. And typically that involves lymph node evaluation as well. Now basal cell can have a more aggressive component and that is known to cause local problems they can grow as you experienced and they can become extremely destructive in the area where they are growing. So yours occurred on the nose, is that correct?

Hugh Royer (06:49): Yeah. It started on the right side of my nose. Yes.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (06:53): So talk about what it looked like when it first started.

Hugh Royer (06:56): They looked like the end of a ballpoint pen that you write with. It was not very large. It was hard. It was like a hard template is kind of the easiest way to explain it, but it wasn't something that you would think, okay, this is something really bad. It just was there. It was like a pimple. And like I said, it was hard. So, you know, you tend to pick at it and scratch it out and whatever else, but it wouldn't go away and you couldn't get it to give or do anything. So that's when I started kind of watching it and paying attention. And when I went to one of the dermatologist in Myrtle beach, they said, oh, that's a staph infection. So they put me on antibiotics and a topical antibiotic to put in my nose and it got bigger. So I ended up going to another dermatologist and they told me it was nerve aggravation from sunglasses because playing golf for a living, I wear sunglasses every day and I play golf in sunglasses. And I was like, okay, that's kinda different, but at least it's nothing, you hear it from a doctor you're going to trust them. And you know, you don't really pay attention to it and you let it go. Well, it got to the point where it was the size of a nickel. And that's where I got in with Dr. Rosner here in Myrtle beach. And he's the first person to do a biopsy on that particular spot.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (08:19): Yeah. So I think you're really highlighting the importance of if something doesn't feel right. Don't give up.

Hugh Royer (08:25): No, you don't ever give up if I had to given up and listened to some of the advice that I was given we wouldn't be speaking today.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (08:36): Yeah. I think that's unfortunately probably true. The important thing when you're having things removed from your body and you're concerned about a skin cancer is to ask your doctor to test it, to send it for pathology. I think sometimes the assumption is made that it's not anything to worry about, but unless you have that pathologist looking at it underneath the microscope, who can tell you that it's probably better to have proof rather than just an assumption,

Hugh Royer (09:05): Don't worry about upsetting the doctor, you know, it's your body, it's your life. And if you think you need a second opinion to get it, because you know, that could wind up being the person or the situation that does save your life. And luckily for me, I chased it for over a year until I got somebody that did that and look what happened. I mean, it ended up saving my life. So I'm very adamant about that, especially when it comes to talking about this kind of stuff, because people like we've, you've mentioned, and then we've said, I mean, they take skin cancer for granted and it's, it's real and it can kill you if you're not careful.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (09:51): So going back to, you know, when you arrived here and you got this diagnosis, that this was actually a much more aggressive basal cell and that you were going to need extensive surgery, what was that journey like for you? I think I read somewhere that you've had four to, or I don't even, I think I lost track of how many surgeries you had.

Hugh Royer (10:13): I had seven and nine months and 30 rounds of radiation. So the first meeting that I had with Dr. Evan Graboyes was...

Dr. Andrea Abbott (10:25): Dr. Graboyes is one of our ear, nose and throat oncology surgeons here at MUSC.

Hugh Royer (10:31): Brilliant man. And just a great friend. I mean, we've heck I saw him every two weeks. So I mean, they're like little brothers to me. I mean, and I say that because I'm 57 and they're 30, he's 36. But he literally with the numbness that I was having from this, because the basal cell ran down the V2 nerve under my eye. And he had me doing some things with my lip, smiling, trying to raise my eyebrows and whatnot. And he saw immediately what was happening and knew he pretty much knew we did surgery the very next day without having an MRI because I had something that I don't think you do know. I have an artificial valve in my heart that I got when I was 22 years old, I had open heart surgery. And so being on Coumadin, the type of valve that I had, you know, he wasn't sure about an MRI.

Hugh Royer (11:26): So he went in and it was the first surgery was seven and a half hours. And it was basically like an exploratory type situation. And then when he got in there and came out, he said, we've got to do an MRI so we can really find out what is going on. And then when I, first time I saw myself in the mirror after that surgery, I about hit the floor. Cause I had zero form of, you know, stitched on my nose. Cause there wasn't anything on my nose other than my nostrils. And it was a pretty spooky look inside.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (12:02): And you didn't know any of that going into the surgery to anticipate?

Hugh Royer (12:08): Yeah. I just knew that I was in, in the best hands that I could be in and that whatever happened, you know, and I tried not to look, but you know, when you go into the bathroom and you turn around, there's a mirror right there. You just, oops. Luckily for me, I hit the lottery when I came to MUSC. And when I say that the doctors that I had with Dr. Graboyes, Dr. Sharma, Dr. Oyer, Dr. Cook and Dr. Soler, I mean, they basically took me apart and put me back together and then, you know, Dr. Kochi, he looks after me now. So, you know, if something isn't right or I don't like something, he automatically does a biopsy to check it. He goes with your history and your past. He goes, we're not letting anything by this time

Dr. Andrea Abbott (12:54): Highlight a couple of things that I hear coming across from you is really developing that relationship of trust. I mean, you had to come in to a place where you were in, you know, a place where you maybe hadn't gotten the right diagnosis and then you came here and then you really put your trust in someone, you went to the operating room for seven hours and came out not knowing what to expect. And, and now you've stayed here and, and develop that relationship and have found people that listen to you.

Hugh Royer (13:27): Exactly. And it's, it's something that fortunately the, you know, the facility that you work for, you know, the, the con the hospital Hollings, MUSC the whole package. You go sit down. If I came in and sat down in your office, you're going to sit there and talk to me until we're both happy with what we discuss. And we're asking you whatnot. You go to most doctors nowadays, it's 10 minutes or less per patient. And they see 30 to 45 patients a day. To me, I find that hard to believe you can give proper medical care by doing something that fast and that quick and in that quantity. And I know that when I've come there, whether it's with Dr. Graboyes or when Dr. Oyer was still there before he left it, or whether it's Dr. Soler or Dr. Sharma, we sit and talk. And it's just a matter of, okay, I'm happy.

Hugh Royer (14:36): Are you happy? Everything okay, are you questions answered? And then we can go on and it can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, but it doesn't matter. It's about the trust, making sure the patient's comfortable, making sure the doctor's comfortable. And I think that says a lot about the facility that you are a part of, of how they do business and what they do and how they take care of their patients. And to me, that's, that's extremely important when you can sit and talk to a doctor and get everything answered. And you feel comfortable when you leave there.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (15:12): I think one thing that sometimes prevents people from coming in is the fear of, you know, you know, something's not right, but you don't know who's going to take care of you, what that process is going to involve. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, sometimes we live in a state of denial wherever, like, okay, well, this will just get better. Everything else has always gotten better. I don't have time to be sick. Like, how do you, maybe it's different for every individual, but how do you say to yourself, okay, I'm really going to go get something done and I'm not going to settle for somebody telling me no, it's nothing. When I really know it truly is.

Hugh Royer (15:50): And again, that it comes down to the simple fact of, and the way I look at this, I mean, I've, I've got four children. My youngest is at the college of Charleston down there. But my other three are grown. My wife has been incredible through all of this. It's about family. You know, it's about your life. It's about doing what you know is going to save your life or help the quality of your life. And, you know, too many people, like you say, they kind of let things go, has to go away. Or it's just basal or it's tight. Let the doctor do what they need to do. Let you, when you go to a doctor, doctors are professionals and they are the top of their field, let them do what they need to do to get you back on the right path.

Hugh Royer (16:51): I've been through a ton. I mean, from mycobacterium, abscesses where I had to go to infectious disease for over a year. Cause I got it in the sinus cavity that was rebuilt. You just, you've got to trust the way things work and the people that you put your life with and people need to learn wherever you go, whatever doctor you find that you're comfortable with, you've got to trust what they tell you. And you've got to do what they tell you. And the healing process is minimal. When you think about what the total outcome could be, if you don't do anything.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (17:35): So when was your last surgery?

Hugh Royer (17:36): My last surgery was January of 2019. And so I need an, I have to have another one. You can see the right side of my face, how it's a little withdrawn and whatever. And that's from the mid ate, the fat away that they put into my face to make it look the same as this side. So Dr. Warrior, I eventually go up to Virginia and he'll, he'll fix it. He started it and I'm gonna, he's gonna finish it. That's just, you know, as much as I'd like to stay at MUSC. Same in we're like avid, we're very, very close and you know, I want him to be able to finish what he started. And you know, at one time I had two forehead flaps. I mean, that's a different looking unit in itself. So, you know, I, like I said, I hit the lottery with my doctors and I trust them with my life and they saved my life. And that's why anybody that I know that has anything. I tell them whether it's to go to Dr. Cook or go see Dr. Graboyes, or you go to MUSC go to Hollings and you get checked out and make sure you're okay.

Narration (18:49): After the break, Dr. Abbott and Hugh Royer finished the chat, opening up the conversation about the Hollings team approach to cancer care and what you can do to protect yourself while enjoying fun in the sun this summer.

Hugh Royer (19:01): Get out of the shower every day and you brush your teeth, you brush your hair, you put the other, and on taking that extra couple of minutes and put sunscreen on. If you take the right precautions, you're going to protect yourself.

Narration (19:15): And now back to the chat.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (19:18): So just want to, you know, you've mentioned a lot of different physicians that were part of your team. So Dr. Oyer was a reconstructive surgeon who specialized in ear nose and throat. Is that correct? And Dr. Graboyes was the surgeon who removed the tumor. Dr. Sharma is one of the radiation oncologists. Dr. Cook is one of our dermatologic surgeons. And I think you said Dr. Soler, who did your sinus reconstruction? Is that right? Yeah. So quite a team there. And so you have, so Dr. Cook's your dermatologist, and how often do you get skin checks?

Hugh Royer (19:55): Oh, he has me come in every way. It depends. I was in, cause I had a squamous removed from my lift right here on new year's Eve. He goes, so you won't be going to any parties tonight, but I usually see him about every six months now. The beauty of, like I said, that how close I've gotten to all of my doctors in my team, other than Dr. Sharma, I've got everybody's cell phones. So if I need them, I can call them and I can bug them. But they check on me as well. So it's the relationship that I was able to create with the team there at Hollins at MUSC is just it's it's indescribable. I mean, it it's family and that's the way you're treated. When you go there, the doctors, they go out of their way to make sure you're comfortable. And to me, that's the kind of people I want to be around when they're looking after my life.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (21:00): Now, do you still have to undergo CT scans or MRIs? Did you ever have to have chemotherapy?

Hugh Royer (21:07): No chemo? I was doing MRIs every three months. Then it went to six months and after my last one it's yearly. So I go August the 31st for my next MRI to make sure everything's good.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (21:25): Right. So I think you've gotten two years out now from your last surgery. And that sounds like the next surgery are wanting to do is to kind of rebuild some of the appearance.

Hugh Royer (21:38): It's a lot of people, so they don't really notice I do. It bothers me. The fact that I have no feeling in the right side of my face I can't smell anything. I can't taste anything. It's something you have to get used to you know, with the radiation, the loss of the nerve and the muscle and whatnot. You know, everything's pretty much, I eat on the left side of my, my mouth and the right side every now and then, but you can't feel it. It's hard to understand what's what's going on over there. So you learn to adapt. I mean, we all do.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (22:17): So are you back out on the golf course?

Hugh Royer (22:19): Yes. Yes. I my age playing the champions tour, I played in Tucson last year. And then I won, I was lucky enough when I was younger to have won four times on what was the Nike tour, which is the Korn ferry tour now. So I'm exempt into the Monday qualifier instead of having to do all the pre qualifiers to get there. And then I have a associate membership to the champions, to her. So I'm doing the Monday qualifiers and they've gotten back in shape. Luckily doctors have helped me get my levels back up after everything was depleted so much through radiation. You know, it, it pretty much beat you up pretty good. But they'd gotten my T levels and everything back up, so I'm good. Knock on wood. Everything is going in the right direction.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (23:09): That's wonderful to hear congratulations. So when you had out on the golf course, now what's your routine for protecting yourself from the sun?

Hugh Royer (23:18): My biggest thing, and I say it in, you know, I've, I've had to speak in front of as many, as 1500 people to, you know, 50 people. And I tell them, you know, you, you get out of the shower every day and you brush your teeth, you brush your hair, you know, you put the owner and on taking the extra couple of minutes and put sunscreen on. And I don't care if you're just to an office, put it on every day, because as you well know, you know, the sun can come through your windshield. It gets magnified coming through there. You can get skin cancer through through that. And people don't realize that well, not when, when does their tenant doesn't matter? Sun sunlight is sunlight and the sun for some reason, I guess nowadays, you know, you've said that there's more cases of skin cancer.

Hugh Royer (24:13): I think it's got a lot to do with the stack. The sun's different now than it was when we were, when I was growing up. And it's just one of those that if you take the right precautions, you're going to protect yourself and it takes a couple of minutes and you get the right sunscreens, you know, you get the stuff, not just what you see over the counter, you get the sunscreens that don't have oxybenzone in it and stuff like that. You get, you know, more of the zinc type stuff that, you know, my mom used to put on me when I was a kid that I used to complain about, but I've worn sunscreen my whole life. And this still happened to me. So it's a matter of taking those necessary precautions and taking the extra couple of minutes. It doesn't, it's not going to slow you down.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (24:59): Yeah. So let's take a few minutes and talk about some sunscreens for the listeners. You know, you mentioned a couple of products there, and so I just want to highlight those. Benzene is known to be a potential carcinogen. And so the FDA is now looking to enforce that companies remove that product from sunscreens until that happens. I would encourage people when you are shopping for a sunscreen to look at the ingredient list. So you mentioned zinc oxide and the other is titanium dioxide. Those are two ingredients that we know are good physical barriers for the sun. They have that thick white coding to them. They can reflect the sun and kind of act as a physical barrier. And I would strongly encourage you to look for those two ingredients stay away from the oxybenzone or oxybenzone Xen or any product that says benzene in it.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (25:53): We know that those are potential carcinogens. The FDA does have a list of six different ingredients. That should be cautioned. I think we'll see a lot of change over the next couple of years in how those products are produced and what's out on the shelves. I think it's really important for people to just pick a product that they like, you know, everyone asks me, well, should it be a cream or a gel or a spray? I say, it's whatever you're going to wear. So it has to be something that you're going to wear that you're going to reapply. I think sprays are a little tricky because you can't see where you've applied it and it's, there's a potential for you to miss areas. So I I'm a fan of the cream and then gels are great. Especially if you have a lot of arm hair, like hair, chest hair trying to get through that with a cream can be difficult. So a gel is a good product for that. For the face I strongly recommend using a stick. You can get closer to your eyes that way there's less potential for, for running down and getting into your eyes and kids, you know, kind of get into the joy of putting it onto when you give them the,

Hugh Royer (26:56): Yeah, since all this has happened to me, I wear long sleet. The clothing that I wear is it's 50 UPF. It's very light, so it's not like I'm wearing long sleeves and I'm sweating to death. It's no harder than if I had short sleeves and that's and I wear a hat that's made by a company out of Colorado called Wallaroo hats. And it's it's kind of a straw type Panama Jack type hat. But they're very, to me, I look at them and I'm like, it's very good look. And it protects my ears and I've got big ears. So it's a good thing for the, it helps to do that, but it covers the face. And again, that's another 50 UPF product. And I think that's what people need to look at when they're going to be in the sun, look at what is available through your clothing and your headwear, because, you know, we all know sunglasses are important for your eyes, but as far as your face and your body, look at your clothing and look at what you have and what it offers.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (28:04): Yeah. I would think a lot of golf shops now, too, like in the pro shops would offer SPF clothing.

Hugh Royer (28:11): It's starting to pick up big time, big time, not as much as you think, but it is. You're starting to see it. You're starting to see companies come up with the products that have that protection just because of certain things in the way things have happened. I think a lot of it is, you know, you see, and you hear everybody talk about, yeah, I had this removed or you see somebody playing and they've got a band-aid or a bandage, you know, somewhere because something was taken off. And it's a huge thing. And I think it's something we're going to see a lot more of as time goes on.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (28:51): Yeah. I think, you know, as you've alluded to, there are some misconceptions about skin cancers, you know, what's aggressive or not aggressive and then the ages. So I think that maybe people used to think that skin cancer is something that happened to you when you were old, when you were, you know, 60 or 70. But unfortunately, you know, I'm seeing people as young in their twenties, teens with aggressive melanomas and skin cancers. So it's starting from an early age using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, avoiding tanning beds. How are you with your daughters and your, your children and your, do you have any grandkids yet?

Hugh Royer (29:31): No, no, no, no. None of those yet. I think maybe in the next few years, that's a possibility with my oldest. But with my kids, they, they all know. I mean, my youngest that's down there in Charleston. She'll tell you, she was like my nurse and she saw what I went through. She never left my bedside. And you know, when it came, came time and we started talking about this kind of stuff, she goes, if she goes to the beach, she's covered. So he's like, look, I'm going to go to the beach. I'm going to be out, but we're going to take the necessary precautions. And my son the same way he, he came to see me cause he lives in, in Jacksonville. And he came to see me afterwards, surgeries that it freaked him out so bad that now when he goes out and do something that he's, he's like that, and he's like, why he just covers himself and then you'll go and it'll soak in. Obviously it's not as drastic, but he does that as well. So it's everybody in this family is, is up to par when it comes to protecting themselves.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (30:41): Yeah. So there is a myth that if you get a base tan that maybe you won't burn in the summer or that if a little bit of sun is good for you because you need vitamin D. So I just want to educate people that there is no such thing as a safe tan any tan is indicative of sun damage and that you can get vitamin D in plenty of ways without laying out at the sun. You know, I don't want people to, to hide from the sun or not enjoy being outdoors. It's just doing so responsibly. So I want to take a minute and go through the ABCs of skin cancer. So, you know, if you're looking at your skin and you're wondering what you should look for, you just go back to the elementary basics. So a is for asymmetry.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (31:28): So if one side of the lesion looks different than the other, if it's not a perfect circle, a border. So look at the border. Is it jagged? Is it rough? Does it look like little pokes or spiny? Is it not? What like well-defined and smooth C is for color. So is it all one color? Is it a different color than everything else on your skin? Are there parts of it that are blue or black or red? Whereas it used to be a nice light brown and then D stands for diameter. So the pit, the head of a pencil, the pencil eraser is about six millimeters. So anything that's greater than six millimeters is something that you should start thinking about. And then E is for everything else. So you had alluded to something on your face that wouldn't go away, you would pick at it and it might bleed and it would just keep coming back. So something new on your skin, that's not going away. That's itching, bleeding anything like that should be brought to the attention of your dermatologist. So when you call for the very first time to see a dermatologist who take us through what a skin check might be like.

Hugh Royer (32:40): I mean the easiest way to put it is check your ego at the door and just understand that, you know, most of the time for men, you're gonna bail, you keep your underwear on. That's fine. Unless there's something they think they need to see. But you know, for women, I mean there, you're going to be in your bra and your panties, and they're going to check you out. And that's what you want. You want a thorough look at your body, have the doctor be able to go over and look and it's, it's painless. It doesn't, it's not like it's going to harm you for life. It's just getting over the fact that somebody is looking at your, your body, but again, it's for your own protection and your own health. And sometimes those things are easily over. You can overlook that when you know, you're being taken care of.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (33:34): I think another resource to utilize is your hairdresser. So unfortunately you can also get skin cancers in your scalp. And it's hard for us to take a look at that. So, you know, asking your, your hairdresser when they're cutting your hair, Hey, if you see anything abnormal on my scalp, you know, let me know. That's another resource. And I tell my, my hairstylist that all the time. And so you know, educating your hairstylist, that that's something that they should be looking for as well, so they can let people know.

Hugh Royer (34:02): And that's the beauty of, you know, I guess if you look at the positives that came out of everything I went through and there were a lot of negatives and there've been a lot of hard times, but the things that I've learned through people like yourself, doctors that have taught me what to look, look for, what to talk about how to help people. There's been up to 12 people here that are just in the golf business, in Myrtle beach, and everybody knows Myrtle beach is the so-called golf capital of the world. And people that came and said, if it wasn't for you, I'd never gotten checked. And we've had people that literally have had chunks cut out of their leg out of their back that melanoma, squamous basal that if it hadn't have been found, could have led to something extremely serious.

Hugh Royer (35:03): So the one positive that I have from all of this is no matter what I've gone through, no matter the pain and really there's no pain, cause there's no nerve. So it's not like it's a big deal to know that you've helped somebody and helped other people is a big thing. And that's what quiet. I like speaking with individuals like yourself, doing this, to be able to help people understand this is it's not a game it's serious and you need to understand, take a little time and don't be afraid of it. Get it taken care of because it will save your life and give you a chance that when I do have grandkids, I'll be able to enjoy them, which a couple of years ago, three years ago, that almost didn't happen. So don't be afraid of it. You know, even if it scares you, you know, people are scared of needles. I've been stuck so many times it doesn't even bother me anymore. So it's like, you know what, just do what you gotta do because your life is that important to your family. And family's everything

Dr. Andrea Abbott (36:13): I really appreciate the time that you spent today. I think that you were able to really bring a unique, personal perspective to this and just really highlighting the importance of early detection, developing your relationship with your physician. And if something doesn't seem right to you, don't give up, keep going, find that person that's going to listen to you, that you connect with until you get the answers that you need to get the treatment that you deserve.

Hugh Royer (36:41): Well, thank you guys. I've enjoyed this tremendously.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (36:45): Yeah. Is there anything else that you'd like to share today?

Hugh Royer (36:47): I, you know, again, I'm pretty biased and you know, Hollings and MUSC is, is the place that saved my life. And, and that's the place that I preach about all the time. And I do have fun with, with the other adult, with the doctors that I have, because depending on the rankings and how they come out, if they're good, they're good. And I congratulate them. And if, if it's down a little lower than it was, and I like to give them a lot of flack and tease them about it. So you got to do better job her awesome. But you know, it it's, like I said earlier MUSC and Hollings is, it's a family and that's the way you're treated. And if you're looking for doctors and surgeons that are going to be there to help you through this, that's the place to go. As far as I'm concerned to be able to talk to you and help and be a part of this it means a lot to me and I appreciate y'all.

Dr. Andrea Abbott (37:48): No, it was our pleasure. Thank you so much and good luck to you and your future golf endeavor.

Narration (37:59): Thank you for listening to this episode of Cancer Chat. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at MUSC Hollings, and visit us online at hollingscancercenter.musc.edu. And remember here at the Hollings Cancer Center, we're finding tomorrow's cure for cancer today.


Episode Guests

Andrea Abbott MD 

Andrea Abbott, M.D.

Hollings surgical oncologist

Hugh Royer 

Hugh Royer

Skin cancer survivor
Hollings patient