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How To Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer

Are All The Different Types Of Sunscreens Safe For Me To Use

How to protect yourself from skin cancer

Yes. There are 2 types of sunscreens: organic and inorganic . They are both safe and they both protect you from sun damage, just in different ways. The level of protection provided by both types of sunscreens depends on their SPF. Recent studies have looked at the absorption of organic sunscreens into the skin, but no harmful effects have been seen. If absorption into the skin is a concern you have, you can use inorganic sunscreens, which have Titanium dioxide or Zinc oxide as their ingredients. As always, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

State And Local Policies Legislation And Regulation

Intervention strategies that address social and contextual factors have the potential for broad public health impact by making the healthy choice the easy or default choice. Policies, legislation, and regulation are examples of such interventions, reaching wide segments of communities while requiring minimal individual effort compared with interventions directed at individuals.

Take Steps To Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer

There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your skin from the suns damaging rays while still enjoying the outdoor activities you love.

“There are many ways to protect your skin from the sun and reduce your skin cancer risk including sun avoidance, sun protective clothing, and sunscreen,” Emily Smith, MD, a dermatologist at MU Health Care said.

Preventing skin cancer isn’t always possible. But being alert for new spots or skin growths and having your doctor check your skin regularly may help find skin cancer early when it can be more easily treated. Smith recommends the following ways you can protect yourself from the sun.

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Actions To Reduce Skin Cancer Risks

Seek the shade. Do this between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is the strongest. An extra rule of thumb is the shadow rule. If your shadow is shorter than you are, the suns harmful UV radiation is stronger if your shadow is longer, UV radiation is less intense.

Do not burn. A persons risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any point in life.

Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. UV radiation from tanning machines is known to cause cancer in humans, and the more time a person has spent tanning indoors, the higher the risk. Those who make just four visits to a tanning salon per year can increase their risk for melanoma by 11 percent, and their risk for the two most common forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, by 15 percent.

Protection. Cover up with clothing, including a broad brimmed hat.

Sunscreen. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Use of a sunscreen is one of the most widely prescribed approaches for protection when one is out in the sun. However, a sunscreen’s efficacy has been measured by its sun protection factor, or SPF. SPF is not an amount of protection per se. Rather it indicates how long it will take for UVB rays to redden skin when using a sunscreen, compared to how long skin would take to redden without the product.

Take Note Of Your Medications

How to protect yourself from skin cancer

If you’re taking medications that increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, such as antibiotics, blood pressure medications, or anti-inflammatories, you should avoid sun exposure altogether. Topical creams and serums that contain ingredients like retinol or AHA can also increase sun sensitivity, which increasesyour risk of skin damage, potentially leading to cancer. You can take extra precautions by wearing a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved clothing with a UPF rating .

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What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk Of Skin Cancer

Protection from ultraviolet radiation is important all year, not just during the summer.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. UV rays come from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells.

To lower your risk of getting skin cancer, you can protect your skin from UV rays from the sun and from artificial sources like tanning beds and sunlamps.

Learn The Abcdes Of Melanoma

  • A for Asymmetry: One side of a mole does not match the other side.
  • B for Border Irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • C for Colour: The pigmentation is not uniform the colouring may include different shades of tan, brown, or black dashes of red, white, or blue can add to the mottled appearance.
  • D for Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than ¼ inch in diameter, but they can be smaller.
  • E for Evolving: Keep an eye out for a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the others is changing in size, shape, or colour or it begins to itch, hurt, or bleed.
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    Skin Cancer: 6 Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself

    When people think about cancer prevention, most folks know the basics. For example, its important to eat nutritious foods, get plenty of physical activity and avoid smoking.

    But one thing that can get overlooked is sun safety. Protecting yourself and your family from the suns ultraviolet rays can help reduce the risk for different skin cancers, including melanoma, the most serious type.

    The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 7,600 people die of melanoma yearly, with exposure to UV rays considered a major risk factor. Almost 100,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Your risk of melanoma increases as you age. The average diagnosis age is 65, however melanoma is one the most common cancers in young adults.

    Despite the many dangers of skin cancer, people still dont know what they should do to keep themselves safe. Often, it just comes down to habits and choices. Ask yourself: How can I be more vigilant about the risks in all areas of my healthfrom physical and mental health to financial wellbeing?

    Start with these six actions:

    Barriers To Interventions In Schools And Communities

    Now You Know: How to protect yourself from skin cancer

    Effective strategies can improve sun protection behavior in children and adults, particularly in child care, school, and outdoor recreational and tourism settings . But without widespread, comprehensive implementation, these strategies may have little effect on sun protection behaviors and sunburn prevention at the community level. Single-component interventions may only have a small effect on behavior change, which may not be sufficient to reduce skin cancer risk. In addition, school policies can either support or pose barriers to sun protection. Currently, some schools and school districts do not allow certain kinds of protection to be easily used, because of rules such as bans on hats and sunglasses or provision of sunscreen only by prescription or by a school nurse. Policies allowing the use of sun protection in schools can help support broader efforts.

    Social and contextual factors within communities can also create barriers to reducing UV exposure. For example, outdoor environments, such as community parks and school playgrounds, often lack adequate shaded areas. Providing shade, either in the form of man-made shade structures or natural shade from trees and shrubs, can help people enjoy the outdoors at any time of day without the risk of excessive sun exposure.

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    And Fatty Fish And Nuts

    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.

    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.

    Also Check: Skin Cancer Mayo

    How Can You Protect Yourself

    The best way to lower your risk of developing skin cancer is to be sun smart.

    • Avoid sun exposure during the middle of the day when the suns rays are strongest
    • Wear sunscreen year-round
    • Wear protective clothing
    • Avoid tanning beds
    • Check your body often for changes in existing moles or the appearance of new moles. If you have any doubts, talk to your family doctor or dermatologist immediately.

    + + +

    Clinicians: Stay current on the latest skin cancer diagnosis and treatments. This complimentary course from MDBriefCase will improve your ability to:

    • Recognize and clinically diagnose skin cancers.
    • Select which biopsy would be appropriate to perform on a suspicious skin lesion.
    • Describe the available treatment options for different types of skin cancer.
    • Apply knowledge to enable earlier diagnosis and management of patients with skin cancer.

    Three Kinds Of Skin Cancer

    How to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer!

    Melanoma is one of three major types of skin cancer. The other two are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Although these cancers are less risky than melanoma overall, they also should be identified and removed.

    Malignant melanoma accounts for about 4% of all skin cancers but 75% of skin cancer deaths. It developseither in moles or in pigment-producing cells, called melanocytes, at the base of the topmost skin layer . With melanoma, the cells multiplyuncontrollably and can invade other parts of the body.

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    The Science Of Skin Cancer

    Melanoma occurs when pigment-producing cells in the epidermis called melanocytes begin to grow abnormally. Ultraviolet light from the sun is thought to be the most common trigger for this because it can cause inflammation and create molecules called free radicalsreactions that can alter the DNA in skin cells. These changes speed the breakdown of collagen in your skin, resulting in wrinkles, sagging, and uneven skin tone, andmost worrisomethey set the stage for skin cancers.

    It doesnt take much sun damage to increase your chances of developing skin cancer. In a University of Iowa study from 2008, people who had five sunburns in 10 years were three times as likely to develop melanoma as those who didnt get burned. And a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that about one-third of adults get sunburned at least once a year. Over time, your skins ability to repair itself slows down, says Joel L. Cohen, M.D., a dermatologist in Denver and an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Irvine.

    What Are The Dangers Of Sun Exposure

    The immediate danger of too much sun is sunburn. If you looked at sunburned skin under a strong microscope, you would see that the cells and blood vessels have been damaged. With repeated sun damage, the skin starts to look dry, wrinkled, discolored, and leathery. Although the skin appears to be thicker, it actually has been weakened and, as a result, it will bruise more easily.

    However, the sun’s most serious threat is that it is the major cause of skin cancer, which is now the most common of all cancers. Doctors believe that most skin cancers can be avoided by preventing sun damage.

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    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:

    How Should Sunscreen Be Applied

    Protecting yourself from skin cancer

    Sunscreens are very effective when used properly. Follow these guidelines to give yourself the most protection:

    • Apply the sunscreen at least 20 to 30 minutes before you go outdoors, whenever you will be exposed for 30 minutes or more.
    • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours while you are outdoors, even if the product is labeled all-day. If you get wet or perspire heavily, reapply sunscreen more frequently.
    • Cover all exposed areas, including your ears, lips, face, and back of your hands.
    • Don’t skimp apply a generous layer. Smooth it on rather than rubbing it in. A rule of thumb is that 45 ml of sunscreen is needed to cover all exposed skin to attain the stated level of protection.
    • Women should apply sunscreens under makeup. If you wait to apply sunscreen until you hit the beach, you may already be perspiring, and moisture makes sunscreens less effective.

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    Tips For Protecting Your Skin From The Sun

    Its probably one of the easiest ways to prevent millions of cases of cancer each yearsunscreen. However, most of us still forget to slather on the sunscreen. In fact, a recent study showed that just 14% of American men and 30% of American women regularly put sunscreen on their faces and other exposed skin before heading outside for more than an hour.

    So what do you need to know about protecting your skin from the sun? Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you finish out the summer.

    Slather On The Sunscreen

    Heading outdoors? Dont forget your sunscreen! Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor rating of at least 30. For the best results, apply sunscreen liberally and often, especially if youre sweating or swimming.

    And remember, since your skin absorbs UV energy despite the weather, slather on your sunscreen year-round, even under cloudy skies.

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    How And When Should You Be Checked For Skin Cancer

    Skin cancer can develop at any age. Orengo has seen melanoma in a 4-year-old patient and basal cell carcinoma in a 12-year-old, so she recommends having a pediatrician check your childs skin during routine checkups.

    Anyone with a family history of skin cancer is at higher risk, so they should start seeing a dermatologist beginning in their 20s, Orengo said.

    Aside from having a dermatologist check your skin, its also a good idea to check yourself every few months, Chon said.

    We really ask patient to become kind of involved in their skin care. They see it all the time, and we see it very intermittently, Chon said.

    How To Protect Your Skin From The Sun

    The Best Ways to Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer
  • Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Also use a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30.

  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Make sure it is water resistant and has a SPF of 30 or higher. Other sunscreens may help keep you from getting sunburned, but they wont protect against skin cancer.

  • Be extra careful around water and sand. These surfaces reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of getting a sunburn.

  • Keep babies younger than 6 months old completely covered and in the shade.

  • Limit the amount of time youre in the sun between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. This is when the sun’s rays are the most intense. Practice the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest, and you should find shade.

  • If possible, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Dark clothing with tightly woven fabric blocks more sun than white or loosely woven fabrics. For additional protection, look for clothes made with special sun-protective materials.

  • Accessorize with a hat that shades your face, neck, and ears and a pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses with lenses that have 99% to 100% UV absorption provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.

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    Warning Bells: Actinic Keratosis

    Actinic keratosis is an early warning sign of skin cancer. These rough, scaly skin lesions are found on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun over time. Although they are not considered to be a form of skin cancer, they can turn into skin cancer if they aren’t treated promptly.

    Like skin cancer, actinic keratosis is caused by too much exposure to UV light, such as from sunlight. People with fair skin that burns easily are at a higher risk of actinic keratosis.

    How can you tell if you may have actinic keratosis? Check your skin, especially any sun-exposed areas, for rough, scaly lesions that may be skin-coloured, red, pink, grey, or brown. The lesions are often covered with a crust. Actinic keratosis is often found on the face, scalp, ears, neck, arms, and hands. If you notice anything that fits this description, or any other skin changes you’re concerned about, check with your doctor.

    If your doctor diagnoses actinic keratosis, there are a number of treatment options. Surgery can be used to remove the lesions, either by cutting out the lesion, using liquid nitrogen to “freeze” the lesion, using a laser to destroy the cells of the lesion, or using bursts of electricity to dry out the lesion and make it easy to remove. Medications, such as fluorouracil and imiquimod, can be applied to the skin to help clear up the lesions. Photodynamic therapy, which uses a special light source in combination with medication, can also be used to treat actinic keratosis.


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