Skin melanoma due to prolonged and unsafe sun exposure is a real threat.
It is important to know that statistics coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection reveal that in the past three decades, the number of skin melanoma diagnosis has doubled on the territory of the U.S.
Unless more prevention and awareness programs are rolled out, the CDC predicts an even more alarming rate of increase in the case of people being diagnosed with either benign or malignant skin melanoma due to exposure to sun rays.
It is a common myth that once we apply sunscreen, the threat is minimized. Medical experts come to contradict this myth. Unfortunately, the majority of people are unaware of the fact that both UVA and UVB greatly influence the risk of melanoma. And sunscreen producers tend to exploit this lack of knowledge as well.
The majority of products now available on the market only offer protection from UVA rays, but ignore UVB. Or, at best, products are labeled with UV protection, without clear reference. Carefully chose your sunscreen or sunblock by looking for the best option that offers protection from both UVA and UVB.
A tanned, glowing skin might look good, but the threat sun exposure poses to your health is unpredictable and real.
Professor Robin Harris from the Skin Cancer Institute – University of Arizona Cancer Center stated that it is a difficult job to thoroughly and efficiently control the disease and its root causes while individuals who look for short-term ‘beauty’ are in clear denial of the dangerous effect UV rays have on their skin.
The worst part is that others seem to take more to these individuals’ advice and stories than that of medical personnel.
As a reminder, 90 percent of skin melanoma diagnoses are due to skin-cell damage caused by exposure to UV radiation.
Three types of skin cancer develop due to this reckless behavior: basal cell carcinoma, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas add up to result in 95 percent of skin cancers in the U.S. They are non-melanoma skin cancers, and if diagnosed early, they can be treated accordingly. Melanoma on the other hand is the lead cause of 75 percent of deaths due to skin cancer.
Like any other tumor, cancerous cells develop at an alarming rate, unpredictable in their spread and what set out as an attempt to get good looking glowing skin may lead to a rapid expansion of tumors to other organs and death.
Under these circumstances, alongside using efficient protective sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or above, it is indicated that you carefully check your skin periodically.
Basal cell carcinoma manifests as a bump on the skin of the face, the ears or the neck. On these areas it generally looks either waxy or pearly like. On the rest of the body it usually appears as a lesion that is either pink or brown.
For squamous cell carcinoma the easiest way to spot it is a red and firm nodule. Other ways it manifests includes a lesion, that while being flat, it presents scales and is itchy, sometimes leading to bleeding.
Melanoma on the other hand, is less visible, albeit the most dangerous. It is a pigmented patch of skin, sometimes looking like a mole.
If one is careful enough with analyzing these signs, they might notice asymmetry in the shape of the mole, blurred lines, uneven colouring or change in the size of moles already existing.
Knowing these things may go a long way into reducing the risk of having any form of skin cancer, in particular melanoma which is malignant.
Protect yourself and others with raising awareness and use a SPF that prevents both UVA and UVB, while at the same time limiting exposure to sun, especially during peak radiation hours.
UV protection is a must. So, products like contact lenses and sunglasses that offer UV protection are highly recommended.
In the aftermath of sunbathing, thoroughly check your skin and look for all signs that might indicate the existence of either of three types of skin cancer. Even if it is a false alarm, take it up with your doctor. Better safe than sorry!
Dry skin should also be relieved constantly, so use any chance to moisturize it.
And prevent the children from long sun exposure, which will lead later in life to skin cancer. According to statistics, before an individual reaches the age of 18, they will already have 80 percent of a lifetime’s sun exposure covered.
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