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.
Skip The Tanning Beds
Tanning beds can severely increase the risk of developing skin cancer. The radiation from using a tanning bed can be more intense than that produced by the sun. On average, using a tanning bed can make you 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. Even occasional exposure can increase the risk of developing melanoma, which is one of the most serious types of skin cancer. Tanning beds are an unnecessary risk avoid them whenever possible.
Create Your Own Shade
Sunscreen should be your first defense against the suns harmful rays no matter where you arebut it shouldnt be your only one. If youre outside and its possible to step into the shade , do it.
It makes a huge difference, says Dr. Chon, who also recommends using sun-protective clothing as a form of shade, especially if youre in the sun for a long time. A lot of brands like Athleta and Lululemon have UPF-rated clothes now.
If you love to go running or hiking, try a rashguard. Theyre super effective and cover all those areas that are hard to reach like your shoulders, back, and neck, says Dr. Chon.
Also Check: When Squamous Cell Carcinoma Spreads
Pay Attention To What Youre Eating
Theres a reason dietitians say you should fill your plate with a mix of brightly-hued fruits and vegetables: All of these have what we call phytonutrientsphyto meaning plants, so nutrients from plantsand antioxidants that are very protective against free radical damage in the skin, says Dr. Herman.
She recommends eating whole foods because they may have other nutrients that we havent yet learned about that may work synergistically with others that we do know about.
Being Exposed To Ultraviolet Radiation Is A Risk Factor For 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 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.
Although having a fair complexion is a risk factor for nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancer, people of all skin colors can get skin cancer.
Recommended Reading: What Is Melanoma In The Brain
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 Much Do Factors Like Sun Exposure Ethnicity And Age Affect An Individuals Risk Of Skin Cancer
A person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays from sunburns, tanning booths, and chronic sun exposure is a major risk factor for all types of skin cancer. Those with fair skin are at higher risk because they have less pigment in their skin to protect them from damaging ultraviolet rays. However, it is really important for those with more darkly pigmented skin to know the signs of skin cancer and check their skin too, because although at lower risk, they are not immune. In terms of age, those with older skin have accumulated more damage from the sun, and BCC and SCC typically affect individuals who are middle-aged or older. Melanoma is more “equal-opportunity.” We see cases throughout life, including in the late teens or early 20s, especially in young women who have used indoor tanning.
Read Also: Can You Die From Basal Cell Skin Cancer
A Safe Simple Way To Keep The Rays At Bay
Whats more, sun-protective clothing is the simplest way to stay safe unlike sunscreen, you never need to reapply!
is the most effective form of sun protection.
Federal Policies Legislation And Regulation
Many federal departments and agencies work on efforts related to skin cancer prevention and control, individually and together. Federal agencies also disseminate information about what works to prevent skin cancer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its agencies play important roles in skin cancer prevention at the federal level. These agencies include the National Cancer Institute in the National Institutes of Health , CDC, FDA, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. CDC supports Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs in states, tribes, and territories, many of which conduct activities related to skin cancer prevention. Federal entities outside HHS also address skin cancer prevention, including the Federal Trade Commission , EPA, the National Park Service, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration .
Federal legislation can help support skin cancer prevention and control efforts. For example, the Affordable Care Act includes a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services and a requirement that nearly all health insurance plans cover USPSTF-recommended preventive services. Recommended services include behavioral counseling for children, adolescents, and young adults aged 10Ã¢24 years with fair skin on how to minimize their exposure to UV radiation to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
For more information on federal activities related to skin cancer prevention, see .
You May Like: Can People Die From Skin Cancer
Also Check: Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer Prognosis
Why You Need It How It Works For You
The big picture: Sunscreen is an important part of a complete sun protection strategy. But sunscreen alone isnt enough to keep you safe in the sun.
When used as directed, sunscreen is proven to:
Help prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun, including wrinkles, sagging and age spots.
KNOW THE 5 WS OF SUNSCREEN
WHO: Everyone under the sunWHAT: Broad spectrum SPF 15 or higher SPF 30 or higher for a day outdoorsWHEN: Every day 30 minutes prior to going outdoors. Reapply every two hoursWHERE: All exposed skinHOW: One ounce to entire body for each applicationWHY: Reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer!
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.
Recommended Reading: Tumor Calcification
Favor Veggies And Fruits
UV light damages antioxidants, chemicals that help keep your cells healthy. You get most of your antioxidants from plant-based foods, and studies show it may help to eat more of them. Oranges and other citrus fruits are packed with the antioxidant vitamin C. Carrots and squash are good sources of beta carotene. And lycopene, which makes fruits red, is found in watermelon, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit, among other fruits and vegetables.
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.
Read Also: Ductal Invasive Carcinoma Survival Rate
What To Look For
Its important to remember the ABCDE rule for skin cancer when doing a self-exam. Consider the following signs of skin cancer:
- AsymmetryA spot or mole on your skin with an unusual shape, or two parts that dont look the same
- BorderA jagged or uneven border
- ColorAn uneven color
- DiameterA mole or spot that is larger than a pea
- EvolvingA mole or spot that has changed within the past couple of weeks or months
Reducing The Risk Of Skin Cancer
Most skin cancers are at least partially caused by UV exposure, so reducing exposure reduces skin cancer risk. However, one out of every three U.S. adults has been sunburned in the past year, and most do not take recommended actions to protect themselves from the sun., In addition, indoor tanning rates are high among some groups, such as young, non-Hispanic white females, and skin cancer incidence rates are increasing. These facts show a need to take action to improve sun protection behaviors and address the harms of indoor tanning.
You May Like: Ductal Breast Cancer Survival Rates
Tips To Prevent Skin Cancer
Before diving into the prevention side of melanoma, or skin cancer, here are some facts you should know:
- Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.
- Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.
- The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when its found and treated early. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on.
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
- Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
Now that we understand why we should prevent it, here are nine things you can do to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer… and the earlier you start applying these principles, the better off you and your family will be.
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
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:
Don’t Miss: Small Blue Cell Tumor Prognosis
How The Sun Harms Your Eyelids
If you are like most people, youve probably never thought about eyelid skin cancer, and it might surprise you to learn that basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma on the eyelid can occur.
To break it down further: BCCs make up the vast majority about 90 percent of eyelid skin cancers. Of the balance, an estimated 5 percent or more are SCCs, while melanomas account for 1 to 2 percent. Most eyelid skin cancers occur on the lower lid, because it receives the most sun exposure.
When diagnosed and treated early, eyelid cancers usually respond well to surgery and follow-up care, with the eye and eyelid functioning intact. But left untreated, they can be dangerous with the potential to cause tissue damage and blindness. Both BCCs and SCCs can also spread to the eye itself and surrounding areas.
Tanning Beds Are Not A Safer Way To Get Uv Exposure
Experts agree that tanning beds are as dangerous for your skin as time spent in the sun. There is no safety in tanning beds,â Waibel says. âMany small doses of UV light exposure such as those that an indoor tanner might receive are more carcinogenic than the sunburn a vacationer might experience.â
Waibel adds that âthere is very little regulation of indoor tanning salons, so there is great variability in operator safety.
Donât Miss: How To Tell Skin Cancer
Read Also: Can You Die From Basal Cell Skin Cancer
Upf: What It Is And Why It Matters
Ultraviolet Protection Factor indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin. For example, a UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the suns rays and allows two percent to penetrate, thus reducing your exposure risk significantly.
What you need to know: A fabric must have a UPF of 30 to qualify for The Skin Cancer Foundations Seal of Recommendation. A UPF of 30 to 49 offers very good protection, while UPF 50+ rates as excellent.
Supplements That May Help
Though in most instances nutritionists prefer you get your nutrients from foods rather than supplements, two antioxidant supplements have recently produced impressive evidence as skin cancer fighters.
Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3. Several studies by Diona Damian, MD, and colleagues in Australia have catapulted nicotinamide into the public consciousness, sparking a run on vitamin supplement shelves. Her studies have revealed that nicotinamide reduces the rate of new skin precancers, basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas by 23 percent in patients with a history of these lesions. She has also done early research suggesting that nicotinamide may provide similar benefits to melanoma patients.
When UV damages the skin, DNA repair enzymes in the skin launch into repairing the damage, but never succeed in fixing all of it. The remaining damage can lead to skin aging and skin cancers. However, both oral and topical nicotinamide replenish energy supplies in the skin that get depleted by these repairs. In this way, they bolster the immune systems ability to fix the damage. Also, UV radiation itself suppresses the immune system, and nicotinamide reduces this suppression.
While the research has only used supplements, nicotinamide is also naturally present in small quantities in yeast, lean meats, fish, nuts and legumes.
Also Check: What To Do When You Get Skin Cancer
Read Also: Stage Iii Melanoma Prognosis
Wear The Right Clothing
Experts insist that sunscreen simply is not enough to ward off cancer-causing rays, and you stand a much better chance of escaping serious skin damage when you add a full layer of protective clothing. Dark colors and tight weaves or knits provide better protection, but specially-made photoprotective clothing is the very best choice.
If you do not want to invest in an entire sun-specific wardrobe, choose clothing made out of synthetic fibers, like polyester, Lycra, and nylon, which reflect UV light better than natural fibers like cotton. Be sure that any stretchy garments fit you properly over-stretching will lower their UV protection and do not forget about your face and eyes a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will complete your sun-safe outfit.
Two components of early cancer detection are education and screening, and both are important. A cancer diagnosis can be less devastating when found early.
Take Action No Matter What Color Your Skin Is
Skin cancer can happen in all ethnicities, including persons of color, says Yolanda Lenzy, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and licensed cosmetologist in Chicopee, MA. In fact, reggae star Bob Marley died from malignant melanoma on his foot.
While its true that more skin pigmentation might lower your risk of developing skin cancer, research shows that people of color die from melanoma at a higher rate than white people. On top of that, consider what sun damage can do to your skin overall, says Susan Chon, M.D., professor of dermatology at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. That may be dyspigmentation, wrinkles, or uneven color.
You May Like: Does Amelanotic Melanoma Blanch When Pressed