Johnny Bench's Skin Cancer Story, Warning for Oklahomans

Monday, July 4th 2022, 10:06 am
By: News 9


Binger native, Cincinnati Reds catcher and Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench has spent a lot of his life outside.

But all of those hours soaking in the sun came at a cost.

He was diagnosed with skin cancer about 10 years ago.

"I was seeing my optometrists actually, just getting my eyes examined," Bench said. "I had these little blisters and I thought, 'OK, we can pop them and they were lanced and then they came back."

A dermatologist later determined Bench had a basal cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma form of skin cancer.

"There are instances, unfortunately, when these cancers are not diagnosed early they can become life-threatening," said dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad.

Ostad added the cancer can spread into other organs, causing major health problems down the road.

Luckily, Bench caught his cancer just in time for it to be safely removed.

"They cut away a little section, cut away a little more if needed trying to get passed all this," Bench said. "That's the one thing that's kind of scary."

Bench said the experience turned him into an advocate, spreading the message that everyone should take skin cancer seriously.

That means wearing sunscreen, and sunglasses when outdoors.

Ostad also encourages everyone to keep an eye on skin growths that don't go away, grow over time, or become itchy.

Bottom line, Bench said, is watch your health, especially as you age.

"If you were out in the sun years and years ago, now is the time to be careful about something that may happen in the future," Bench said.