When we fail to take care of our skin, however, such as over exposure to the sun, the results can be detrimental. Research shows that over exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet, or UV rays, damages DNA in the skin. Generally, our bodies can repair this damage before cancer develops, but it is when an individual cannot repair the damaged DNA that cancer can form.
Most skin cancers can be classified into three different types – basal cell carcinoma, squalors cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal and squalors cell are the most common types of skin cancer and are highly curable. However, melanoma, the third most common is the most dangerous with treatment being the most difficult.
Minimizing Your Risks
According to Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. In fact, statistics show that the number of skin cancer cases has been rising over the last few decades.
Fortunately, protecting you and your family from harmful UV rays doesn’t have to be difficult. Listed below are the best ways to protect your skin from damaging sun rays:
* Select shaded areas for outdoor activities
* When possible, avoid the sun when it is the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
* When spending long periods in the sun, wear a hat, sunglasses and other protective clothing
* Always wear a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15, even in the winter months as snow is a good reflector of UV rays
* Avoid deliberate tanning, including tanning beds
* Maintain regular skin examinations, including self-exams and professional check ups
Apart from skin cancer, UV rays can also lead to premature aging, such as wrinkles, as well as macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.
Detecting Skin Cancer
The best way to detect skin cancer in its early stage is to examine your skin frequently. Your dermatologist can show you the proper way to examine your skin and detect areas of concern.
Warning signs to look for include:
* A sore that won’t heal
* Change in the size, color or shape of a mole
* Change in sensation of a mole, including tenderness, pain, irritation
* Change in the surface of a mole, such as bleeding or the development of a bump or nodule
You can also use the American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDE guide for assessing moles:
Asymmetry: Half the mole does not match the other half in size, shape or color.
Border: The edges of the mole are irregular or blurred.
Color: The mole is not the same color throughout.
Diameter: The mole is larger than one-quarter inch in size.
Elevation: The mole becomes elevated or raised from the skin.
Protecting your skin against harmful UV rays should be an integral part of your skin cancer prevention. If you detect anything suspicious with your moles or skin, see a dermatologist right away, as detecting skin cancer early is your best bet for a quick recovery.
Regular skin cancer screenings with your professional dermatologist in Baton Rouge is the best way to identify skin cancer.