Skin cancer is one of the most commonly detected cancer types, and its main cause is exposure to sun. Here are some guidelines on prevention of this cancer.
Skin cancer is a common type of cancer that is mostly detected in the early stages itself. It is classified into three types – basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma. The first two types are referred to as non-melanoma, which rarely spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is the most uncommon and gravest form. It can spread to other body parts and even cause death.
Among the three forms of skin cancer, basal cell cancer is the most common form. It has been observed that in most cases, basal cell cancer is found to develop on the sun-exposed areas of the body – mostly the face. This type of cancer rarely spread and can be cured by radiation or surgery. Squamous cell cancer is less common, as compared to basal cell carcinomas, and spread to other parts in a very slow manner.
It is believed that skin cancer is mainly caused by over exposure to sun. Other causes include non-healing wounds and burns, old age, exposure to organic arsenic, repeated exposure to X-ray, human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, etc. Fair-skinned people and those with a family history of skin cancer are also at risk. While, some causes like exposure to sun are preventable, some others are not.
Skin Cancer Prevention Tips
The most common cause for skin cancer being over exposure to the sun, the occurrence of this disease could be prevented to some extent by protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
- Avoid exposure to sun, especially during the peak hours of the day – 9 am to 4 pm.
- Do not allow kids to go out in the sun, as their skin is more sensitive than that of adults. Confine your outdoor activities to shaded areas.
- Whenever you go outside (during daytime), wear protective clothing, broad-brimmed hats etc.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and apply lip balm on your lips.
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which can shield you from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun.
- In case of swimming, you can apply a waterproof sunscreen or reapply the regular one every two hours. For optimum results, try to apply the sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun.
- Deliberate tanning from the sun should be avoided. Tanning lamps are also not advisable, as there is a risk of ultraviolet radiation.
- Check out the risk associated with long-term use of your skin cream or lotion containing tar.
These protective measures are needed on cloudy days too. Most of the rays of the sun can penetrate clouds, mist and fog. Hence, there is a possibility that you develop sunburn on cloudy days. It is advisable to stick to these preventive measures, even if you are near water or in a snowy area.
As pesticides and herbicides with organic arsenic is linked with skin cancer, it is better to avoid exposure to such products. Maintain the health of the immune system with a balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants. Consult your doctor, if you notice any lesions or irregularities on your skin. Even moles with irregular shapes and discoloration must be checked.