Skin cancer is the most common form of this deadly disease. Learn how to lower your and your loved ones’ risks of getting it easily.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Basically, it is a result of the abnormal, pathologic growth of skin cells that result in the different forms of tumors, lumps, or ulcers on skin. Though it may occur anywhere on the body, most often, it occurs on the areas that are exposed to the sunlight for too long or too often. In the United States alone more than 3.5 million of the frequent basal and squamous cell forms cases are registered every year. Even relatively rare melanoma is diagnosed around 70,000 times a year.
This disease is quite common but some people tend to develop it more likely than others. In this case, just like in case of most other serious diseases, it is useful to know whether you are in a risk group. So, you are at risk of getting a skin cancer if:
• You are exposed to ultraviolet radiation too often and/or for too long (including sunlight or tanning lamps);
• You have very pale skin that gets sunburned quickly;
• You are exposed to certain oncogenic substances, including coal tar, paraffin, arsenic, and so on;
• Your close relatives had skin cancer;
• You have too many moles;
• You had severe sunburns;
• You have weak immune system.
In most cases, skin cancers can be treated successfully, especially in the early stages of their development. What is more, this type of cancer is relatively easy to diagnose.
However, prevention is always better than treatment. Luckily, this disease is much easier to prevent than any other type of cancer. Here are some simple rules that will lower your risk of getting skin cancer and, respectively, help you avoid all the risks associated with its treatment:
Use Sunscreen in a Right Way
It is recommended to use SPF of 30 or higher sunscreen to protect your skin completely from the harmful UV rays. If you are going to spend long period of time outdoors, make sure to reapply your sunscreen from time to time. Also, consider water-resistant and broad-spectrum products.
Some tips for maximum protection: apply your sunscreen half an hour before you leave the house. Refresh it every two hours and after contact with water and other fluids (including sweating).
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Even if you use the strongest sunscreen all the time, staying in the shade will make your chances of getting skin cancer even lower. Also, being in shade is just more pleasant when it’s too hot outside and it prevents dehydration and fainting.
Take Care of Your Children
Often, the skin cancer has its roots in the childhood. Many skin cancer cases are linked to severe sunburns and overexposure to the sunrays in the early childhood. Therefore, start preventing this disease in your children from the very beginning. Babies younger than 6 months should be kept away from the direct sunlight completely. As for older toddlers and children, make sure to apply the strongest sunscreen on their skin before letting them out.
Watch Your Skin Condition
The important part of any disease prevention is regular examination of your health condition. It makes sense to visit dermatologist from time to time and watch your skin condition yourself. You should get worried and schedule a doctor appointment if you notice:
• Any weird new spots;
• Changes in size in color of existing spots;
• Unpleasant changes in skin looks (like scaliness or roughness);
• Apparently unhealthy conditions like oozing or bleeding for no obvious reason;
• A sore that remains unhealed for too long;
• New pigmentation around existing mole or mark;
• Itchiness, pain, and other unusual sensations.
Wear Protective Clothing
Proper clothes and accessories not only make you feel comfortable during the sunny days but also reduce your risks of skin cancer. Consider wearing hats and high-quality UV-blocking sunglasses.