Skin Cancer: How to Prevent It?
Skin cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Millions of people have already died as a consequence of melanoma, amelanotic melanoma, squamose cell carcinoma, and other types of deadly skin cancer. One thing that differentiates this malignancy from other cancers is that it is the easiest malignant disease to be caught in early stages. The best way to spare yourself from a skin cancer diagnosis is checking your birthmarks every month and observing if have they changed their size, shape, and texture.
And while it is important to perform regular self check-ups to prevent this dangerous disease, it’s also important to know how to prevent it. There are numerous ways how a person can prevent skin cancer even if there is a history of the disease running in their family.
Just abide by these skin cancer prevention tips and you will be safe and sound from the aggressive ailment:
Sunscreen Is Not a Panacea
The sun emits two types of skin cancer-causing rays our way: UVB and UVA rays. Both of these sunrays can penetrate into the skin, damage its DNA, and cause skin cancer.
Now, you probably say that applying sunscreen can protect you from the sun and its rays. Well, that’s not quite the case. Most commercially available cremes, sprays, and lotions with SPF only protect us from UVB rays. What’s even worse are the finding of one study which has shown that sunscreen can penetrate deep into the skin and allow UVA rays to damage it.
Dermatologists now advocate that people should reapply their SPF-laden products every two to three hours. And before you purchase the most expensive sunscreen in your local cosmetics store, read its label carefully as some sunscreens are packed with dangerous ingredients.
Tanning is a Scourge
One of the biggest bane of our times that have to be eradicated and banned everywhere is the tanning bed. Popular among teenage girls and adolescent women, tanning beds serve as an alternative to sunbathing during the winter months.
What most women and men who catch some rays in these beds don’t realize is that these “beauty” machines are even more dangerous than the sun. The dangerous UV radiation emitted from tanning beds fries the skin’s deep layers, causing irreversible damage to the DNA which ultimately leads to melanoma.
Skin Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate
Unlike us human beings who discriminate among various people, skin cancer does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, from toddlers to supercentenarians. And this malignant disease doesn’t only discern a difference in age groups, it also doesn’t draw a distinction between races.
“Melanoma doesn’t discriminate by skin color,” claims Melanoma Research Foundation’s education director, Shelby Mooner. And although people with darker coloured skin are better protected from UV rays naturally than those with paler skin, when they get melanoma, their five-year survival is only 75% as compared to 94% for white people.
Family History is a Red Flag
According to Dr. Jennifer Linder, a board-certified dermatologist from Arizona, people who have or have had a first-degree relative with melanoma are 50% more likely to develop the disease than persons without a prior family history of the disease.
Linder recommends that people with a history of melanoma should visit their dermatologists every 6 months for a check-up while people with no previous family record of the disease should visit their skin specialist every year.
A Galore of Birthmarks Doesn’t Indicate Luck
While it is believed in some cultures that people with lots of moles are lucky, that’s just an old wives’ tale. Having lots of moles is far from a sign of luck.
People who have dozens of moles are more susceptible to developing melanoma, the deadliest form of cancer and the most dangerous cancer overall. Dr. Linder says that folks with 10 or more birthmarks have 12 times the higher risk of developing skin cancer than the general population. Such persons should regularly apply sunscreen and avoid the sun.
A History of Painful Sunburns
Even the best of the dermatologists have been sun burned at one point in their life, but they didn’t allow themselves to get sunburns anymore because a prolonged history of sunburns skyrockets melanoma development risk. To avoid getting burnt by the sun, apply SPF creme or lotion every two hours. If you have been sunburned a lot in the past, tell it to your dermatologist.
So, the magic formula for preventing cancer is avoiding the sun and tanning beds, applying sunscreen regularly, visiting your dermatologist once or twice a year, and performing self-exams.
Important note: If you notice any birthmark that is different from other moles on your body, have that evaulated by your doctor immediately!
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