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How To Reduce Risk Of Skin Cancer

Avoiding Tanning Beds And Sunlamps

5 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer

There are countless statistics linking artificial tanning to skin cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association:

  • Its estimated that indoor tanning may cause upward of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States each year.
  • Higher melanoma rates among young females compared with young males may be due in part to widespread use of indoor tanning among females.
  • Even one indoor tanning session can increase a users risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent, and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent.

Having used tanning beds in her twenties, Callahan stresses how important it is to try and eliminate the shame around poor sun-protection habits of the past. The stigma can be a barrier for someone going to see a dermatologist.

Ive heard people say, I cant go to the dermatologist, I have a tan, says Callahan. Dont be afraid to go. Its 15 minutes that could save your life.

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Cover Up With Long Sleeves A Hat And Sunglasses

Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants or a long skirt when you spend time outdoors. Clothes made from tightly woven fabrics are best for blocking UV rays.

Wear a hat with a wide brim that protects your face and neck. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. If you wear a baseball cap or visor, be sure to protect your ears and the back of your neck with sunscreen.

Its also important to wear sunglasses that block UV light. This will help protect your eyes and the skin around them from sun damage. Wrap-around sunglasses are best because they block UV rays from the side and the front.

Skin Cancer Prevention And Covid

Dermatologists and professionals in the skin cancer prevention field are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic may impact skin cancer prevention efforts. Callahan, who serves on the National Council for Skin Cancer Prevention, has met with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC where there’s a worry that sun protection might not be a top priority for people during the pandemic, especially as people look to outdoor activities to get out of the house and social distance.

Experts are also concerned that people may delay or cancel dermatologist appointments.

If someone has a spot of concern, now is not the time to wait, says Callahan. It could be a matter of life or death.

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Indoor Tanning Policies And Legislation

Some states and municipalities in the United States have regulations relating to the use of indoor tanning devices. As with many public health issues, regulation of indoor tanning is likely to be most effective if combined with a multifaceted approach. For example, monitoring use of indoor tanning devices and changes in use over time, restricting use of tanning devices to protect certain populations , offering safe alternatives to indoor tanning, warning users about the health risks associated with indoor tanning, and enforcing existing regulations could help reduce harms.

Considerable variation exists throughout the country in the strength and enforcement of indoor tanning restrictions, as well as compliance with these restrictions. In October 2011, California passed the most stringent youth access law in the country, which took effect on January 1, 2012, and prohibits indoor tanning for anybody younger than age 18 years . Since then, Vermont, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Washington, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Hawaii have also adopted prohibitions on indoor tanning for minors younger than age 18 years.- Several additional states proposed legislation to enact bans on indoor tanning for this age group during the 2013â2014 legislative session.,

Currently, at least 44 states and the District of Columbia have some kind of law or regulation related to indoor tanning,- including the following:

Consume Foods That Provide Ellagic Acid

Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer

Ellagic acid may well be among your best weapons in the battle against skin cancer. According to research, ellagic acid is capable of clearing carcinogenic substances by activating certain detoxifying enzymes in the liver. Furthermore, ellagic acid has also been shown to can prevent carcinogens from attaching to cellular DNA. It has also been shown to boost the immune system, to induce normal self-destruction of cancerous cells, and destroy skin cancer causing free radicals. Ellagitannin which the body converts into ellagic acid is found in red fruits and berries, especially raspberries, as well as in some nuts such as walnuts and pecans.

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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:

Avoid Meat Products That Contain Nitrates

Nitrates are naturally occurring substances that are present in the air, soil, surface water, ground water and plants, including vegetables we eat. Food manufacturers also use nitrates in processed and cured meat products to give meat an intense red color. When you eat foods that contain nitrates, you body may convert the nitrates into nitrites, which in turn can form nitrosamines. There is a large body of evidence suggesting that nitrosamines can cause cancer. Luckily, antioxidants such as vitamin C and E have been shown to effectively prevent nitrosamine formation. As vegetables are typically rich antioxidants, nitrosamine formation should not be a concern when you eat vegetables containing nitrates. This is supported by population studies which have found no link between a high consumption of nitrate-containing vegetables and cancer risk, but which show that diets high in nitrate-containing meat products can cause cancer.

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Minimize Time Spent In The Sun

While sun damage is possible whenever the sun is out, exposure is at its peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.. During these hours, the harmful UVB rays are most powerful as they are absorbed into the skin. While many people believe that sunny days are the only time they should limit sun exposure, serious sun damage can also occur on cloudy days. In fact, the clouds often refract the suns rays in a way that maximizes the intensity and thus the likelihood of sun damage. Outdoor activities that take place during these peak hours should be done in the shade when possible, or limited to a certain period of time to reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Barriers To Using Sun Protection

Skin Cancer: How to Reduce Your Risk

Many Americans lack a general knowledge or awareness about the risks associated with sun exposure, or they think they are at low risk of developing skin cancer or sunburn.,, Some groups of Americans, especially blacks, the elderly, and people with less education, may perceive themselves to be at low risk of skin cancer. Because of the perception of low risk and a lack of awareness, these groups tend to be diagnosed with skin cancer at later stages.,,

A substantial segment of U.S. adults also do not perceive cancer as preventable and thus may be less likely to engage in skin cancer prevention practices, such as using broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher or covering up. Lack of understanding of the UV Index is also a barrier to making informed decisions about adequate sun protection while outdoors.,

Many Americans either do not use sun protection when outdoors or do not use adequate protection, and as a result, they experience sunburn., The costs of protective clothing and sunscreen may pose financial problems for some., Personal clothing style preferences can also create barriers to people using certain protective clothing items if they are seen as unfashionable, uncomfortable, or interfering with sports or other outdoor activities. For some people, protective clothing may interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself, increasing the risk of heat illness.,

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Lack Of A Comprehensive Approach

Lack of a comprehensive, coordinated approach may also be a barrier to successful policy and legislative efforts. Without enforcement, certain restrictions may be easily circumvented. Stronger laws to regulate tanning salons and restrict youth access to them will not be as effective in the absence of increased controls on unsupervised tanning beds and direct sales to the public. Instead, they may drive people to indoor tan in unsupervised locations, such as gyms, beauty salons, or common areas of apartment complexes, or to buy tanning beds for home use. Unsupervised use of a tanning bed or use without a trained operator may lead to longer, more intense exposure to UV radiation. A qualitative study found that ownership of a tanning bed could lead to very high exposures. One participant shared that he would often fall asleep in his tanning bed, tanning for as long as 40 minutes at a time.,

A survey of British youth in 2010, before the United Kingdom enacted restrictions banning indoor tanning for all minors, found that 23% of youth aged 11â17 years had used an indoor tanning device at home, and 21% had used unsupervised devices in other settings. To prevent minors from accessing unsupervised tanning facilities where access is not controlled, WHO has recommended banning unsupervised tanning facilities as a complement to restricting the use of tanning beds by minors.

Social Norms Regarding Tanned Skin

Social norms regarding tanned skin as attractive and healthy create barriers to reducing intentional exposure to UV radiation, whether indoors or outdoors. In many communities and social groups, tanned skin is considered attractive, and social pressures to conform to this beauty standard can be powerful motivators. Women in particular may experience greater social pressure to tan and have tanned skin, which likely explains the higher rates of indoor tanning observed among women than men.,,,-

Social norms regarding tanned skin have changed over time. Before the 1920s, pale skin was considered beautiful and an indication of upper class lifestyles, while tanned skin was a sign of working class people who labored outdoors. As the industrial revolution moved the working class indoors and into crowded inner cities, pale skin was no longer viewed as a sign of wealth, but rather an indicator of poverty and poor health. Tanned skin began to signify a life of leisure and disposable income that allowed time for outdoor sports and beach vacations.,

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What Is The Difference Between Melanoma And Other Skin Cancers Like Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma , and melanoma each arise from different cell types in the top layer of the skin. BCC and SCC are far more common than melanoma, and also less dangerous. Each year, over 2 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with BCC and SCC. When detected and treated early, nearly all BCCs and SCCs can be cured. In comparison, approximately 139,000 people will be newly diagnosed this year with melanoma the most deadly form of skin cancer. Unfortunately, melanoma has a greater tendency to aggressively spread beyond the skin, to lymph nodes and internal organs. Thankfully, however, the vast majority of melanomas are caught early and cured.

Being Exposed To Ultraviolet Radiation Is A Risk Factor For Skin Cancer

Steps for Reducing your Risk of Skin Cancer

Some studies suggest that being exposed to ultraviolet radiation and the sensitivity of a persons skin to UV radiation are risk factors for skin cancer. UV radiation is the name for the invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. Sunlamps and tanning beds also give off UV radiation.

Risk factors fornonmelanoma and melanoma cancers are not the same.

  • Risk factors for nonmelanoma skin cancer:
  • Being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight over long periods of time.
  • Having a fair complexion, which includes the following:
  • Fair skin that freckles and burns easily, does not tan, or tans poorly.
  • Blue or green or other light-colored eyes.
  • Red or blond hair.
  • Having a weakened immune system.
  • Being exposed to arsenic.
  • Risk factors for melanoma skin cancer:
  • Having a fair complexion, which includes the following:
  • Fair skin that freckles and burns easily, does not tan, or tans poorly.
  • Blue or green or other light-colored eyes.
  • Red or blond hair.
  • Being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight over long periods of time.
  • Having a history of many blistering sunburns, especially as a child or teenager.
  • Having several large or many small moles.
  • Having a family history of unusual moles .
  • Having a family or personal history of melanoma.
  • Being white.
  • Although having a fair complexion is a risk factor for nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancer, people of all skin colors can get skin cancer.

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    Skin Cancer Prevention Patient Version

    On This Page

    Cancerprevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer.

    To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.

    Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get cancer.

    Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied.

    Prevention Policies In Schools

    Sun protection programs for children can have important benefits. Sunburns in childhood are a clear risk factor for skin cancers later in life, and building healthy habits early when children are more receptive can lead to increased sun protection into adulthood., Given the amount of time children spend in school settings, much of the skin cancer prevention efforts for children have focused on sun-safety education in schools and changes to the school environment to promote sun-safe behaviors. This section provides examples of the resources available to schools and an overview of policies used in some schools to promote sun safety.

    Sun protection policies can be implemented at the school, community, school district, or state level. CDC’s School Health Policies and Practices Study collects data from a nationally representative sample of public school districts to assess school health policies and practices in the United States. According to 2012 SHPPS data, some U.S. school districts have policies to promote sun safety among their students. Although very few districts had policies that required specific sun-safety strategies, many districts had policies that recommended the following:

    SUNWISE: SUN SAFETY FOR KIDS AND EDUCATORS. SunWise is the most widely used health and environmental education program for sun safety in the United States. It is designed to teach children aged 5â15 years and their caregivers how to protect themselves

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    Lowering The Risk Of Skin Cancer

    If you want to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, an important step is to decrease your exposure to ultraviolet light;by avoiding direct sunlight and tanning beds.

    Other tips include:

    • Limit your exposure to the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when rays are typically strongest.
    • Seek shade if youre outside.
    • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves and pants.
  • Use sunglasses that protect the eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher if you plan to be outside longer than 20 minutes.
  • The sunscreen should be water-resistant and protect against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Reapply regularly, especially after sweating or getting out of the water.
  • Check other products for SPF numbers, too, not just sunscreen.
  • The labels on some makeup, clothing and beach accessories include SPF numbers as part of their product information.
  • Avoid sunburns, which have been linked to an increased risk of developing melanoma later in life. This is especially important for children.
  • Avoid tanning booths and beds that use concentrated UV light.
  • The risks are so great that several states prohibit and some countries limit and prohibit the use of tanning beds, especially for teenagers.
  • Expert

    Get Skin Cancer Screenings

    Skin Disease & Disorders : How to Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer

    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.

    Read Also: What Are Some Treatments For Melanoma

    Don’t Forget Your Feet

    Skin cancer can be sneaky. While a mole that pops up in a conspicuous place such as your nose or forearm might catch your attention, a cancerous spot can also start on the soles or top of your feet, where they are harder to see. Research published in the;Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery;found that the five-year survival rate for melanoma on the foot and ankle was 52 percent compared with 84 percent for melanoma found elsewhere on the body because the signs are difficult to spot. “Even if you examine your skin carefully, there could be areas that are hard to see,” says Georgetown’s Skelsey.

    Those who live alone and don’t have a spouse to check for rogue moles are at increased risk. A 2014 study looked at more than 27,000 melanoma patients between 1990 and 2007 and found that men living alone were significantly more likely to die from melanoma probably because their melanoma was diagnosed at a later stage of the disease, researchers said.


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