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How To Protect Against Skin Cancer

And Fatty Fish And Nuts

Sun Safety – Ways to protect yourself against skin cancer (3min 48sec)

Other types of antioxidants include omega-3 fatty acids, found in seafood like tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, which helps defend against free radicals that damage your cells. Antioxidants should come from foods, because they are more beneficial than supplements.

How Are Moles Evaluated

If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDEs of melanoma or one thats tender, itching, oozing, scaly, doesnt heal or has redness or swelling beyond the mole see a doctor. Your doctor may want to remove a tissue sample from the mole and biopsy it. If found to be cancerous, the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it will be removed and the wound stitched closed. Additional treatment may be needed.

Get Skin Cancer Screenings

Even if you dont have any skin concerns, its a good idea to have yearly skin cancer screening checks with a dermatologist. Theyll be able to see areas of your body you cant easily monitor.

A dermatologist will also be able to evaluate any moles or other skin growths for the possibility of skin cancer. If a mole has suspicious features and looks like it may be malignant , removing it early may prevent it from spreading to other areas of your body.

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Watch For Abnormal Moles

Checking your skin regularly may help you spot any new or abnormal moles or other growths and show them to your doctor before they even have a chance to turn into skin cancer.

Certain types of moles are more likely to develop into melanoma . If you have moles, depending on how they look, your doctor may want to watch them closely with regular exams or may remove some of them if they have features that suggest they might change into a melanoma.

Routine removal of many moles is not usually recommended as a way to prevent melanoma. Some melanomas develop from moles, but most do not. If you have many moles, getting careful, routine exams by a dermatologist, along with doing monthly skin self-exams are, might be recommended.

If you find a new, unusual, or changing mole, you should have it checked by a doctor experienced in recognizing skin cancers. See Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma Skin Cancer for descriptions of what to look for.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Skin

Protecting Against Skin Cancer with Topical Antioxidants ...

To help;protect your skin you can:

  • wear close weave cotton clothing in the sun
  • wear long sleeves and trousers
  • wear a hat with a wide brim that shades your face and neck
  • wear sunglasses that give 100% UV protection
  • use a high factor sunscreen when you’re in the sun – even on a cloudy day
  • spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest between 11 am and 3 pm in the UK
  • never use a sunbed

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Avoiding Risk Factors And Increasing Protective Factors May Help Prevent Cancer

Avoiding cancerrisk factors may help prevent certain cancers. Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer.

Who Is Most At Risk

People at risk for developing skin cancer may have the following conditions or characteristics:

  • Fair skin
  • Large dark-colored birthmark, known as congenital melanocytic nevus
  • Pre-cancerous skin lesions, such as actinic keratosis
  • HIV-positive. A specific risk for Kaposi sarcoma.
  • Excessive sun exposure during childhood

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What Are The Dangers Of Uv Exposure

It might surprise you to learn that UVB rays — even though they only make up about 5% of the rays that reach our skin — are the primary cause of sunburn. UVB exposure also accelerates skin aging, suppresses some immune functions and contributes to the development of skin cancer.;

UVA rays, though less intense than UVB rays, are 30 to 50 times more prevalent than UVB rays. Prolonged and cumulative UVA exposure damages the collagen fibers in your skin, which contributes to signs of aging: wrinkles, age spots and loss of elasticity.;

Oh, and skin cancer, too. The US Department of Health & Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have all declared UV radiation a known carcinogen, both from the sun and artificial sources, like tanning beds.

Dr. Richard Torbeck, a dermatologist in New York, told CNET that UV rays cause DNA damage over time, which leads to cells growing unchecked and leading to cancer.;

It’s not just skin cancer, though: Excessive UV exposure is also a risk factor for cataracts and other eye complications, including corneal sunburn and damage to the retina, Dr. Lortscher told CNET. The American Academy of Ophthalmology now recommends protecting your eyes from UV exposure by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and hats.

Before you head outdoors without sunscreen this summer, consider the potential complications of cumulative sun exposure: ;

People With Darker Skins Are Also At Risk

Protect yourself against skin cancer

Although people with darker skins are at a lower risk of melanoma than lighter skinned people, the majority of basal cell carcinomas in people with darker skins occur in sun-exposed skin, indicating that sun protection is paramount, regardless of pigment.

In darker skins, 70% of melanomas have been reported to be below the ankle and appearing on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

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Other Sun Protection Tips

  • Limit sun exposure. The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Practice the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you, you should find shade. Always keep babies younger than 6 months old completely covered and in the shade.

  • Pay attention to the UV index. This numbered scale measures how damaging exposure to the sun will be on any particular day. It is often included in the weather report. When the index is 10 or higher, people should try to stay indoors.

  • Be careful around reflective surfaces. Water, snow, and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun and increase your risk of getting sunburned.

  • Wear protective clothing and sunglasses. Make sure you have a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears. Dark clothing with tightly woven fabric blocks more sun than white or loosely woven fabrics. For additional protection, look for clothing made with special sun-protective materials. Make sure your sunglasses have 99% to 100% UV absorption.

  • Be aware of medication side effects. Some medications may make you more sensitive to the sun. These include specific types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, and some types of chemotherapy.

  • Avoid recreational sunbathing. Also, do not use sun lamps, tanning beds, or tanning salons.

What Is Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. There are 3 main types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are also called nonmelanoma skin cancer, and they are much more common than melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous of these cancers.

Skin cancer can almost always be cured when its found and treated early. Thats why its a good idea to check your skin regularly for new growths or changes in old growths. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you notice a change.

To learn more about skin cancer, check out:

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How Your Phone Can Help You Spot Skin Cancer

Telemedicine is a growing field, and skin care is not to be left out: Over the last several years, a handful of skin cancer detection apps popped up allowing you to analyze your skin with your smartphone and artificial intelligence algorithms.;

Some send photos to a dermatologist, some provide instant feedback and others offer helpful reminders about self-checking your skin and scheduling a doctors appointment.;

Here are a few you can download on iOS and Android.;

Miiskin uses hi-res digital photography to capture magnified photos of moles on your skin.;

Skin Cancer Prevention Options

Ways to Protect Yourself Against Skin Cancer
  • Wear sunscreen every day. Just because its cloudy doesnt mean the harmful UV rays arent reaching your skin. Wear makeup with SPF in it, and apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day you leave your home.
  • Cover yourself with proper clothing. Sunscreen does not block all harmful UV rays. While it may not seem that fun to wear a long sleeve shirt to the beach, it will make a big difference in your skin cancer prevention methods. In addition to covering your arms and legs, a hat that covers your entire face and neck is a good addition to your sun protection routine.
  • Avoid the outdoors during the peak of the day. According to Mayo Clinic, the sun is the most damaging between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Plan your outdoor activities either earlier or later to avoid the suns most harmful hours.
  • Dont use a tanning bed. While it may seem like a golden brown tan is the perfect summer accessory, it is actually damaging your skin. A tanning bed uses UV rays that can cause skin cancer.
  • Stay in the shade. If you must be outside, stay in the shade whenever possible. The more reliable the shade, the better chance you have to avoid damaging rays.

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Ways To Protect Against Skin Cancer

Its almost May and here in the Northeast, front-of-the-pharmacy aisles are filled with myriad brands and types of sunscreen. While sunscreen is essential to lowering your risk for skin cancer, there are other simple, over-the-counter options you can incorporate into your summer skin protection routine.

Nicotinamide May Help Prevent Certain Skin Cancers

Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that has been shown to reduce the number of skin cancers. In a randomized controlled trial performed in Australia , the risks of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma were significantly reduced by 23%. Nicotinamide has protective effects against ultraviolet damage caused by sun exposure. The vitamin is safe and can be purchased over the counter. We recommended starting the vitamin to all our patients with a history of a basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, or with extensive skin damage due to sun exposure. One caveat is that the vitamin must be taken continuously, as the benefits are lost once stopped.

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How To Detect Skin Cancer

When it comes to skin cancer, we have some good news and some bad news.

First, the bad news: skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Each year, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer, and in the last three decades, more Americans have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

But heres the good news: You can often see the early warning signs of skin cancerwithout an x-ray or blood test or special diagnostic procedure. If you know what to look for and take action when you see it, most skin cancers can be detected and treated at early stages, when they are most curable.

Even for melanoma, a more dangerous skin cancer type that is more likely to spread to other body areas, the five-year survival rate is 99% for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes.

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Start At The Top Wear A Hat

What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself against Skin Cancer

Safeguard against wrinkles and skin cancer and look cool at the beach by wearing a great hat whenever youre outside. Hats are a perfect complement to UV-filtering sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your face and eyes.

Heres what to look for in a sun-safe hat:;

Wide Brim

The;best hats for sun protection;have a brim of at least three inches to shade the face, scalp, neck, shoulders and upper back, along with easily overlooked places like the tops of the ears and back of the neck.

Tight Knit

Look for a tightly woven hat rather than a loosely constructed straw hat that lets in the UV rays.

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There Are Several Types Of Skin Cancer

The most common types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, which forms in the squamous cells and basal cell carcinoma, which forms in the basal cells. Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are also called nonmelanoma skin cancers. Melanoma, which forms in the melanocytes, is a less common type of skin cancer that grows and spreads quickly.

Skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, but it is most common in areas exposed to sunlight, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms.

Can These Uv Devices Protect You From A Sunburn

Yes and no: Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., owner of Mudgil Dermatology in New York, told CNET that while commercially available UV detectors and apps can be helpful in assessing UV exposure, they may not be very precise, and it’s best to just take simple precautions like wearing sunscreen and hats.;

Dr. Lortscher noted that tracking devices such as My Skin Track, Shade or UV-sensitive stickers can be helpful if you spend a lot of time outdoors and tend to forget to reapply sunscreen.;

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Cover Up With Long Sleeves

Clothes are a simple barrier to the sun. But they canât protect what they donât cover. Also, light, loosely woven fabrics wonât protect you as well as tighter, thicker fabrics like denim. Some specialized clothes have a UPF number that, like SPF in sunscreen, shows how well it blocks sunlight.

Is More Melanin Always Better

9 ways to protect your skin from the sun [infographic ...

There is evidence that in addition to its photoprotective qualities, melanin can also be toxic to cells grown in culture dishes after UV exposure. Specifically, melanin can produce reactive oxygen compounds that can lead to a break in a single strand of DNA, and pheomelanin can generate hydrogen peroxide which may cause mutations. Whether this happens in human skin and whether it impacts cancer is unknown at this time.

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The Best Sunscreen Is The One You Will Use

Choose a;sunscreen;you like and will wear make sure its SPF 50+, has Broad Spectrum protection and that you apply the appropriate quantity , according to your body exposure and activity. There is good evidence to show sunscreen use reduces the risk of most skin cancers.

Underapplication of sunscreen effectively reduces the SPF by up to half, if not applied in the right amount.

Beware of sunscreen sprays! It is difficult with a spray to achieve the desired thickness of application and therefore lack of protection is a concern.

I encourage my patients to incorporate sunscreen daily into their morning skin care routine. Do not rely on makeup to have the appropriate SPF or broad-spectrum protection. It is always best to wear sunscreen under makeup. ;

How Can I Measure My Uv Exposure

Sunburn Alert makes UV-sensitive stickers that change color when it’s time to reapply sunscreen.;

Measuring UV exposure starts with tracking the UV index scale.;

“One of the easiest ways to monitor sun exposure is looking at the daily UV index, which is given on the iPhone Weather app,” Dr. Torbeck told CNET. “The UV index is affected by clouds, wind, distance from the equator, and stratospheric components like ozone holes.”

The UV scale goes from 0 to 11+ and can give you an idea of how cautious you should be about sun exposure each day. The US National Weather Service calculates the index using algorithms that account for ozone concentration, cloud cover, elevation, latitude, time of day and day of year. The index scores are as follows:;

  • 1-2: Low
  • 8-9: Very High
  • 10-11: Extreme

As you might suspect, the higher the index, the more sun protection you should use. You can use your zip code to find the UV Index for your locale, but know that the index is only available in 58 cities throughout the US and in Puerto Rico. Depending on where you are — say, Glendale, California versus Los Angeles — the index may not be precise.;

Aside from looking at your weather app, you could use a UV-tracking device to measure your exposure. Over the past few years, UV-detection wearables and devices have emerged on the market .;

He recommends asking a few questions when looking for a UV-detection device:

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Dont Forget Your Eyes And Sites Where The Sun Dont Shine

When choosing;sunglasses, ensure they meet the Australian Standard for eye protection, choose category 2 or higher and look for an Eye Protection Factor , ratings of 9 or 10 provide excellent protection.

Your eyes, like your skin are sensitive to UV damage. While ocular melanoma is rare, it certainly can occur in addition to skin cancers involving the eyelids/skin around the eye.

Do not forget concealed sites. Mucosal melanomas and non melanoma skin cancers are rare but it is important to know that the mucosa of the mouth, eyes and genitals can be a site for skin cancer as can the scalp. Be on the lookout for lumps and bumps on the scalp when washing your hair, ask a partner, family member, even your hairdresser to look at hard to see places like the scalp.

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