How to Prevent Skin Cancer
Most people like to get a little sun. It can relax us, boost our spirits, and give us a nice natural glow. The problem is that these benefits can come with some deadly negatives, like the possibility of getting skin cancer. Skin cancer is extremely common with almost a million new skin cancers diagnosed every year. According to another study 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that if it’s caught early enough it is almost always curable. There are also so many different methods in order to prevent skin cancer which hopefully will allow individuals to never have to experience it.
There are four different types of Skin Cancer which include…
- Actinic Keratoses (AKs): These pre-cancers are caused by the sun and usually appear as small, crusty or scaly bumps. While most are benign, some can develop into invasive SCCs if left untreated.
- Basal Cell Carcinomas (BBCs): The most common cancers in the world often have a raised, translucent, pearly nodule that may ulcerate and bleed. They are usually caused by both cumulative and intermittent sun exposure or tanning machine exposure.
- Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs): These are usually raised, pink opaque nodules or patches that frequently ulcerate in the center. Long-term, cumulative sun exposure is the most common cause. A small percentage become invasive.
- Melanoma: This is the MOST serious skin cancer and can be life threatening if allowed to advance. Usually brown-black or multicolored plaques or nodules with irregular outline, they may crust or bleed. Look for the warning ABCDE signs of Melanoma: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter (usually large), Evolving or changing.
Different Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer
Seek the Shade
If you are outside and the sun is strong try to seek out cover under the shade. The sun is strongest at 10 AM – 4 PM, so definitely try to avoid the sun as much as possible between these hours. Save favorite outdoor activities for early morning, or late afternoon when the sun is not as strong.
Don’t let yourself burn
Every single sunburn you receive increases the risk of you developing melanoma, which as mentioned above is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Try to make sure you always have sunblock to protect yourself, and if you notice your skin start to redden, take cover. Suffering 5 or more burns doubles one’s life time risk of getting skin cancer. Therefore, avoiding sunburn is key in order to prevent skin cancer.
Wear Sunscreen Year Round
Sunscreen is essential in order to prevent skin cancer, and skin damage. One should apply sunscreen throughout the entire year, and generously on the skin. One should even apply to their lips, tips of the ears, and back of the hands that are often forgotten when it comes to sun protection. We typically recommend using a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15. Here at WellMedica, we do carry our own sunscreen: Cosmic Ray Shield with a SPF of 36. It protects your skin from harmful UV rays and helps delay premature aging by giving your skin a dose of antioxidants. Formulated with exclusive botanical antioxidants and micronized zinc it helps prevent the breakdown of collagen, and is even safe for sensitive and acne prone skin. To learn more about this product click here.
Avoid Tanning and Never Use Tanning Beds
No matter what anyone tells you – no tan is ever safe. Whether it is a real tan that you soaked up on the beach, or an artificial one. A lot of times you hear people say that tanning is necessary, because every needs Vitamin D. However, that is simply not the case. It is actually MUCH safer to get the Vitamin D that you need through foods that have a lot of it, such as salmon, or orange juice. When it comes to tanning beds you should absolutely avoid them at all costs. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop Basal Cell Carcinoma. To learn more about the dangers of skin cancer read our article here.
Cover Yourself Up
Clothing can be the absolute best form of protection when out in the sun. Wearing densely woven fabric, or bright and dark colors can offer the best defense against harmful UV rays. Wearing a hat to cover the scalp and forehead is also essential as these are common places skin cancer can form. The more skin that is covered the better. It is also important to protect the eyes. Wraparound sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of the sun’s UV rays effectively shield both eyes and surrounding skin. This helps to prevent serious conditions later in life like cataracts to melanomas of the eye and eyelid.
Receive Full Body Mole Checks Regularly
It is important for one to constantly examine their skin, and check for any abnormal moles. One should also see their Doctor every year for a professional skin cancer exam. Regular total-body checkups are the best way to make sure your skin is healthy and to prevent skin cancer. If you would like to schedule a full body mole check, call WellMedica today and book your appointment with Dr. Dima Ali. She has almost 20 years of experience under her belt performing full body mole checks, and will be able to answer all questions and concerns.