How To Prevent Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer, so knowing how to prevent skin cancer is important. Most cases are directly tied to sun exposure, so how you choose to protect your skin from the rays will have an enormous impact on your chances of developing basal cell, squamous cell, or melanoma.
As with other cancers, early detection is crucial, which means you need to know what skin changes to watch for. However, it is equally vital that you take steps to reduce your skin cancer risk now, with a few extra additions to your daily routine.
How To Prevent Melanoma
Every hour, on average, one person dies of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Research in understanding the causes of melanoma continues to advance. Some studies have shown that nearly 90% are considered to be preventable, although there is no guaranteed way to prevent melanoma.
Some risk factors, such as age, gender, race, and family history, cannot be controlled. What we do know is that exposure to ultraviolet light is the primary environmental contributor to melanoma.
So there are things you can do that could lower your risk of getting melanoma and other skin cancers. Because this disease can affect anyone, everyone should take steps to reduce their risk.
Could Surgery Cause My Cancer To Spread
No. Many years ago, before good diagnostic testing was available, people with cancer would undergo surgery without knowing the full extent of the disease. Because the cancer was not diagnosed until it was in its very late stages, people would incorrectly assume the surgery had spurred the cancer’s growth. Cancer spreads naturally with time that’s why it’s so important to catch it and treat it early.
You May Like: Skin Cancer Metastasis To Lymph Nodes
Melanoma And Skin Cancer Prevention: The Facts
Melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, but because it usually and rapidly spreads, it is the most serious type of skin cancer that is the leading cause of skin cancer-related deaths.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 96,480 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the year 2019. Approximately 50,000 will be detected in men and 39,000 in women. The average age when melanoma is diagnosed is 63, but it can occur in people even younger than 30 years old.
Melanomas often appear as moles, and some even develop from existing moles.
People who are genetically predisposed to the disease have a greater chance of developing melanoma, so it cannot truly be prevented due to uncontrollable factors such as family history and race.
Avoid Using Tanning Beds And Sunlamps
Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless. This is not true. Tanning lamps give off UV rays, which can cause long-term skin damage and can contribute to skin cancer. Tanning bed use has been linked with an increased risk of melanoma, especially if it is started before a person is 30. Most dermatologists and health organizations recommend not using tanning beds and sun lamps.
Also Check: How Do Carcinomas Spread
How Can I Prevent Melanoma Skin Cancer
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it comes at a good time as temperatures rise and people spend more time outside.
As you head out of doors with your friends and family, make sure you’re aware of a particularly dangerous type of skin cancer, melanoma.
This infographic gives you some quick facts and prevention tips :
Avoid Sun Exposure & Dont Forget Your Sunscreen
UV sun exposure is another huge risk factor for developing melanoma. In fact, nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by UV light and sunlight.4 Sunburn also plays a huge role in increasing the chances for the disease. One blistering sunburn can more than double a persons chance of developing melanoma later in life. Be sure to have proper SPF coverage when you are in the sun, and avoid tanning beds at all costs.
When it comes to a suspicious mole or other skin mark, it is always recommended to contact your dermatologist or primary care physician as soon as possible.
Everyone will likely face a skin issue in their lifetime. With the snap of a picture, Aysa is here to answer all your questions and give guidance on what to do next. our app today!
Also Check: Survival Rates For Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
What Are The Signs Of Melanoma
Knowing how to spot melanoma is important because early melanomas are highly treatable. Melanoma can appear as moles, scaly patches, open sores or raised bumps.
Use the American Academy of Dermatology’s “ABCDE” memory device to learn the warning signs that a spot on your skin may be melanoma:
- Asymmetry: One half does not match the other half.
- Border: The edges are not smooth.
- Color: The color is mottled and uneven, with shades of brown, black, gray, red or white.
- Diameter: The spot is greater than the tip of a pencil eraser .
- Evolving: The spot is new or changing in size, shape or color.
Some melanomas don’t fit the ABCDE rule, so tell your doctor about any sores that won’t go away, unusual bumps or rashes or changes in your skin or in any existing moles.
Another tool to recognize melanoma is the ugly duckling sign. If one of your moles looks different from the others, its the ugly duckling and should be seen by a dermatologist.
Signs And Symptoms Of Melanoma
The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
This can happen anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women.
Melanomas are uncommon in areas that are protected from sun exposure, such as the buttocks and the scalp.
In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and are more than 1 colour.
The mole may also be larger than normal and can sometimes be itchy or bleed.
Look out for a mole that gradually changes shape, size or colour.
Superficial spreading melanoma are the most common type of melanoma in the UK.
They’re more common in people with pale skin and freckles, and much less common in people with darker skin.
They initially tend to grow outwards rather than downwards, so they do not pose a problem.
But if they grow downwards into the deeper layers of skin, they can spread to other parts of the body.
You should see a GP if you have a mole that’s getting bigger, particularly if it has an irregular edge.
Read Also: Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer Survival Rate
Save Spray Sunscreen For Touchups
Spray-on sunscreens are tempting: Theyre easy to apply and typically less greasy than lotions. But dermatologists dont love them. I always suggest lotion as a base coat and only using spray to reapply, Dr. Wendel says. Its much easier to miss spots with a spray sunscreen, especially on a windy day. So, its best to make sure you get a really solid coat on with lotion first, and then save the spray for when youre in a pinch or just need to reapply.
What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer
Skin cancers first appear as a spot, lump or scaly area on the skin, or a mole that changes colour, size or shape over several weeks or months. These changes can appear anywhere on the body, particularly areas frequently exposed to the sun. Skin cancers may bleed and become inflamed, and can be tender to the touch.
There are certain characteristics to look for in spots and moles. Remember the ‘ABCDE’ of skin cancer when checking your skin:
- Asymmetry does each side of the spot or mole look different to the other?
- Border is it irregular, jagged or spreading?
- Colours are there several, or is the colour uneven or blotchy?
- Diameter look for spots that are getting bigger
- Evolution is the spot or mole changing or growing over time?
Changes may include an area that is scaly, shiny, pale or bright pink in colour, or a spot or lump that grows quickly and is thick, red, scaly or crusted.
See your doctor if you notice any new spots or an existing spot that changes size, shape or colour over several weeks or months. Your doctor can help you distinguish between a harmless spot such as a mole, and a sunspot or irregular mole that could develop later into skin cancer.
Also Check: Can You Die From Basal Cell Skin Cancer
What Am I Looking For During These Self
- Assymetry: – Draw an imaginary line through your mole. Do both sides look alike? If not, see your doctor.
- Border: – Look at the outside edge of your mole. Are its edges sharp and easy to distinguish from surrounding skin? If the edges look ragged or fuzzy, see your doctor.
- Color: – Check the color of your mole. Is it the same throughout or does it vary with shades of dark brown, black, white, red or blue? If it isn’t the same color throughout, see your doctor.
- Difference: – Have your moles changed in size, shape or color? Are they suddenly itchy? Most moles on a person’s body share a common look did you find one that looks different than the others? Do you have a new, changing mole or suspicious looking patch of skin? Any time you notice a difference in moles or on other parts of your skin, see your doctor.
for pictures and descriptions of exactly what you should be looking for.
Reduce Fat Intake Especially From Animal Fat
A high dietary intake of animal fat has been associated with an increased risk of cancer. One particular compound that seems to play a major role in this context is arachidonic acid, found primarily in fatty red meats, egg yolks and organ meats. This omega-6 fatty acid has been shown to enhance cancer growth and to facilitate its spread within the body. It may also be capable of destroying cells of the immune system involved in the protection against skin cancer. In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel as well as walnuts and flaxseed can help guard against skin cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids appear to protect the skin from UV damage, which may be among the possible mechanisms for their skin cancer preventive activity. However, despite the skin cancer preventing qualities of omega-3 fats, it is wise to limit the total intake of fat to approximately 20% because all fatty acids, including omega-3s, stimulate the production of bile. Bile may be converted into apocholic acid, a proven carcinogen, if a lot of fat stagnates in the large intestine for too long.
Also Check: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Survival Rate Stage 1
Who Is At Risk Of Melanoma
Skin type and family history play a big part in the risk factor. The fair-skinned of us are the most prone to Melanoma. This is due to the fact that their skin burns more quickly than people with darker skin .
In saying that there is one type of melanoma that tends to occur on the soles of feet, palms of hands and under the nails in people with darker skin. No-one is immune it seems.
Learn The Right Way To Apply Sunscreen
Yes, theres a right and a wrong way to apply sunscreen. And most people are doing it wrong. Most people dont apply a thick enough coat, Dr. Wendel says. You need one ounce, or a shot-glass full, for your whole body and face. You also have to reapply regularly. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before going outside and then reapplied every two hours and after sweating, swimming, or toweling off. Some sunscreens suggest reapplying more often, so always refer to the instructions on the back of the tube.
You May Like: Invasive Breast Cancer Survival Rate
Natural Products Can Cause Side Effects During Skin Cancer Treatment
Black salve isnt the only natural treatment that concerns dermatologists. Vitamins, herbal remedies, and other all-natural products can interact with cancer treatment. Vitamin A, vitamin C, and St. Johns wort are especially worrisome. If a patient takes one of these while on chemotherapy or receiving radiation treatments, serious side effects can occur.
In Germany, many people take mistletoe to strengthen their immune system. If you have melanoma, your doctor will advise you to avoid it. German studies have found that mistletoe may cause melanoma to spread more quickly.
Dermatologists also worry when patients take vitamins and other supplements during clinical trials. Patients agree to take only the medicine being studied. Surveys, however, indicate that patients often supplement with natural products. They use these products to help strengthen their body during cancer treatment.
This is understandable. The problem is that vitamins, herbs, and other natural products can interact with cancer treatments. In a clinical trial, there is no way to know whether the drug or the interaction between the drug and an all-natural product caused a serious side effect. This could prevent potentially helpful treatments from becoming approved.
How To Cure Melanoma
This herb is the most effective natural remedy for melanoma. The extracts of astragalus have antioxidant, anti tumor and anti inflammatory properties that enhance the immune system of the skin and help in the buildup of anticancer skin cells. The herb is so effective that doctors suggest its use even when the condition of a patient is critical and he/she is undergoing chemotherapy.
We already know that turmeric is a very good antiseptic agent and can be used to cure and prevent skin ailments. An extract of turmeric known as curcumin has shown anti melanoma properties in medical tests. This extract must be taken with food or mixed with other medicines for daily consumption.
Cordyceps is a variety of mushroom that has been clinically tested to show results against the growth of skin cells that are affected by melanoma.Clean and cook cordyceps mushrooms properly before consumption to avoid allergy or rashes. The element cordycepin in cordyceps prevents the spread of melanoma.
The EGCG extract in green tea is an effective herbal treatment for melanoma. If melanoma is detected in your skin, drink at least three glasses of green tea everyday. You can also apply green tea extracts on the affected skin.
Tea Tree Oil
The terpinen in tea tree oil is a form of melameuca alternifolia. According to medicine, the latter is a component which stops the in-vitro growth of skin cells affected by skin cancer.
Also Check: If You Have Skin Cancer How Do You Feel
Avoid Weakening Your Immune System
Having a weakened immune system increases your risk of getting melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
Infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can weaken the immune system. Avoiding known risk factors for HIV infection, such as intravenous drug use and having unprotected sex with many partners, might lower your risk of skin cancer and many other types of cancer.
Some people need to take medicines to suppress their immune system. This includes people who have had organ transplants and some people with autoimmune diseases. People with cancer also sometimes need to take medicines such as chemotherapy that can lower their immune function. For these people, the benefit from taking these medicines will likely far outweigh the small increased risk of getting skin cancer.
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed
Your doctor or dermatologist will first conduct a physical examination by looking at your skin to identify any suspicious spots using a dermatoscope .
Its not always possible to tell from looking at it whether a spot or lump is cancerous or not. So your doctor or dermatologist may take a skin biopsy. This is where part of, or all of, your spot is removed and sent for further study under a microscope.
Some smartphone apps allow you to photograph your skin and compare photos over time. While they can be a good reminder to check your skin and record details, they shouldnt replace a visit to the doctor. See a doctor if youre concerned about any spots or moles on your skin.
Read Also: Skin Cancer Perineural Invasion
Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Are Used To Study Ways To Prevent Cancer
Cancer preventionclinical trials are used to study ways to lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Some cancer prevention trials are conducted with healthy people who have not had cancer but who have an increased risk for cancer. Other prevention trials are conducted with people who have had cancer and are trying to prevent another cancer of the same type or to lower their chance of developing a new type of cancer. Other trials are done with healthy volunteers who are not known to have any risk factors for cancer.
The purpose of some cancer prevention clinical trials is to find out whether actions people take can prevent cancer. These may include eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, quitting smoking, or taking certain medicines, vitamins, minerals, or food supplements.
Sunburn Treatment And Relief
For Adults: 5 Ways to Treat a Sunburn
1. Act Fast to Cool It Down
If youre near a cold pool, lake or ocean, take a quick dip to cool your skin, but only for a few seconds so you dont prolong your exposure. Then cover up and get out of the sun immediately. Continue to cool the burn with cold compresses. You can use ice to make ice water for a cold compress, but dont apply ice directly to the sunburn. Or take a cool shower or bath, but not for too long, which can be drying, and avoid harsh soap, which might irritate the skin even more.
2. Moisturize While Skin Is Damp
While skin is still damp, use a gentle moisturizing lotion . Repeat to keep burned or peeling skin moist over the next few days.
3. Decrease the Inflammation
If it is safe for you to do so, take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug , such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin at the first sign of sunburn to help with discomfort and inflammation, says Dr. Brackeen, who practices at the Skin Cancer Institute in Lubbock, Texas. You can continue with the NSAIDs as directed on the label until the burn feels better. You can also use an over-the-counter 1 percent cortisone cream as directed for a few days to help calm redness and swelling. Aloe vera may also soothe mild burns and is generally considered safe. Continue with cool compresses to help discomfort, wear loose, soft, breathable clothing to avoid further skin irritation and stay out of the sun entirely until the sunburn heals.
4. Replenish Your Fluids
Don’t Miss: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Grade 2 Survival Rate