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What Causes Skin Cancer Besides The Sun

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Now You Know: How to protect yourself from skin cancer

The most important thing I tell my patients is to find one that you actually like the feeling of on your skin. That sounds a little trivial, but you can get the fanciest, expensive sunscreen and if you dont like how it feels youre not going to use it, he said.

And it needs to be reapplied every 2 hours. Besides avoiding the sun and wearing lots of clothing, its the best protection there is.

One-third of the Texans are going to get skin cancer at some point, Dr. Fakhouri said. Thats pretty amazing, and its a little bit scary. So its really important for people to be vigilant and to make sure that you see dermatologists on a regular basis.

How Can I Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can somewhat repair itself, especially with on-going sun protection. So, it’s never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin does change with age — for example, you sweat less and your skin can take longer to heal, but you can delay these changes by staying out of the sun. Follow these tips to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or greater , zinc oxide , and iron oxide 20 minutes before sun exposure and every 2 hours thereafter, more if you are sweating or swimming. Check the label for directions.
  • Select clothing, cosmetic products, and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours . The UVA rays, which cause premature skin aging and initiate skin cancers, are out all day long.
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
  • Eighty percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child.

How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed

Skin cancer is suspected by its appearance on the skin. The diagnosis must be confirmed with a biopsy. This involves taking a sample of the tissue, which is then placed under a microscope and examined by a dermatopathologist, a doctor who specializes in examining skin cells. Sometimes a biopsy can remove all of the cancer tissue and no further treatment is needed.

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What Are The Identifying Signs Of Melanoma

Melanoma looks like irregular moles. The irregularities are usually described as the ABCDEs of skin cancer.

  • Asymmetrical
  • Diameter
  • Evolving

Healthy, normal moles are usually brownish, perfectly round with smooth borders, and no larger than a pencil eraser. They stay the same throughout your life.

Melanoma moles look different. Theyre irregularly shaped with blurred, uneven borders. Theyre often dark black or blue and can grow to be quite large. Melanomas also change shape, size, and color.

Does The Sun Really Cause Skin Cancer Or Actually Prevent It

Can Pigmentation Signal about Skin Cancer?

If you are reading this, you are clearly someone who questions things, and I applaud you. At an alarming rate, the curious and reasonable among us are finding that a great portion of what we are told is not only false, it is often a complete inversion of the truth! This is another type of cancer, which I wont talk too much about here. We are here to discuss the truth about skin cancer. Here it comes. Are you ready?

Does sunlight cause skin cancer?

That would be a resounding NO. But guess what does cause skin cancer?

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How Can I Help Prevent Sun Damage And Ultimately Skin Cancer

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it’s never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin does change with age for example, you sweat less and your skin can take longer to heal, but you can delay these changes by limiting sun exposure.

Maintaining healthy skin

  • Stop smoking: People who smoke tend to have more wrinkles than nonsmokers of the same age, complexion, and history of sun exposure. The reason for this difference is unclear. It may be because smoking interferes with normal blood flow in the skin.
  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or greater 30 minutes before sun exposure and then every 2 to 3 hours thereafter. Reapply sooner if you get wet or perspire significantly.
  • Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
  • Relieve dry skin using a humidifier at home, bathing with soap less often , and using a moisturizing lotion.
  • Become a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child. Eighty percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18.

Understanding UV index

0-2: Low

3-5: Moderate

6-7: High

8-10: Very high

11 or higher : Extreme

How To Protect Yourself From The Sun

The sun can affect your body both good and bad sides. To prevent the harmfulness of the sun, you should follow the following guidelines

  • Apply sunscreen. Always apply sunscreen even though you only stay at home. If you go out, should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out. Remember to reapply every two or four hours. An SPF 30 or higher is helpful.
  • Cover up. Wear long sleeve clothing or hats when you go out to protect your skin from UV rays. Dont forget to wear sunglasses to avoid eye damage.
  • Plan your exposure. The UV rays work strongest between 10 a.m and 4 p.m, so you should limit to go out during the time.
  • Avoid tanning bed Tanning beds increase your sun exposure that contributes to skin damage. You should only use them in the morning and keep them far away in the afternoon.

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Basic Information About Skin Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the skin, it is called skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Some people are at higher risk of skin cancer than others, but anyone can get it. The most preventable cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. 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.While enjoying the benefits of being outdoors, people can decrease skin cancer risk by using sun protection. Protect yourself by staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying and re-applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.

How To Choose The Right Sunscreen

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun
  • SPF: The complete form of SPF is known as the Sun Protection Factor, and it determines how much solar energy is needed for a sunburn to occur while wearing sunscreen compared to skin that is not protected.
  • Formula: Physical sunscreen consists of inorganic substances containing only two ingredients. The two ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • Physical sunscreens are made of inorganic substances and contain only two approved ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They function by creating an outer layer of protection on the skins surface that uses reflection to disperse the UV radiation away from the body.
  • Texture: Theyre less likely to block your pores, trigger breakouts, or cause irritation to the skin. However, Body sunscreens are easily applied since they come as a spray or lotion that has a thick, protective skin barrier that doesnt matter in other parts that are part of your skin.
  • Select a sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection. Sunscreens labeled with this feature helps against both UVA and UVB radiations. All sunscreens protect against UVB radiations which are the primary reason for sunburn and skin cancers. However, UVA radiation can also cause premature aging and skin cancer.

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Skin Type And Skin Cancer

People with fair skin are at higher risk of developing skin cancer than people with very dark skin. If you have fair skin, be sure to teach your children about the importance of sun protection. Encourage them to develop good sun protection habits from an early age. This is the best way to help reduce their risk of skin damage and skin cancer in later life.

The melanin in very dark skin offers some protection against the damaging effects of UV radiation and the risk of skin cancer is lower. But when skin cancer is detected in people with naturally very dark skin, it is often found at a later, more dangerous stage when the risk of death is much higher.

No matter what their skin type, everyone should become familiar with their skin. Check all of your skin, not just sun-exposed areas. If you notice anything unusual, including any change in shape, colour or size of a spot, or the development of a new spot, visit your doctor immediately.

Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented

Skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. Making a part of your life, avoiding sunburn, and checking your skin regularly will help prevent further damage to your skin.

Protect your skin from UV radiation and help prevent skin cancer by:

  • slipping on sun-protective clothing: cover your shoulders, neck, arms, legs and body.
  • slopping on sunscreen thats rated SPF 30+ or higher, broad-spectrum and water resistant.
  • slapping on a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
  • seeking shade under trees, umbrellas and buildings from direct sunlight and reflective surfaces.
  • sliding on sunglasses that wrap around your face to protect your eyes and surrounding skin.
  • staying away from sun lamps, solariums or sunbeds, which emit dangerous levels of UV radiation.

UV radiation from the sun varies depending on time of day, season, where you live and cloud coverage. Protect your skin whenever UV Index levels are above 3. Use Cancer Council Australias free SunSmart app to check the UV Index for your area any time.

Most Australians will get enough vitamin D even with sun protection at UV level 3 or above. Babies and children should be protected from the sun, since they are particularly vulnerable to UV radiation harm.

While using fake tanning cream isnt harmful to your skin, it offers no protection from UV radiation. You still need to protect yourself from the sun.

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Skin Pigment And Ability To Tan

Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight affects everybody’s skin to some extent, but the skin’s response varies widely from person to person. Peoples’ sensitivity to the sun varies according to the amount of pigment in the skin and the skin’s ability to tan.

Ultraviolet radiation causes tanning in two different ways: by immediate tanning and by delayed tanning. Immediate tanning causes the skin to darken in response to UVA. This darkening begins during the period of exposure, but fades within a few hours or days. The amount of tanning increases according to the skin’s natural darkness and previous amount of tanning.

Delayed tanning occurs two to three days after exposure to either UVA or UVB. It lasts from several weeks to months, and is maintained by repeated exposure to sunlight. With delayed tanning, the skin increases its production and distribution of dark pigment. The skin also becomes thicker. These changes can follow sunburning or develop gradually over a long period of repeated brief exposures to sunlight.

Some people burn easily after the first hour of sun exposure following winter or any period away from the sun. Other people, especially those with dark skin, rarely burn. This difference in reaction makes it possible to classify skin into one of six different types .

Table adapted from: SunSmart Victoria , Australia

Uv Radiation And Skin Cancer

Spot This RashSummertime Sun Sensitivity

Skin cells in the top layer of skin produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin gives skin its natural colour. When skin is exposed to UV radiation, more melanin is produced, causing the skin to darken. This is what we call a tan. A tan is not a sign of good health, but of damaged skin cells in trauma.

Tanning can contribute to DNA damage, premature skin ageing and skin cancer. Every time skin is exposed to the sun, the total lifetime dose of UV radiation is increased. Over time, this damage adds up, even when no sunburn is experienced.

All types of sunburn, whether serious or mild, can cause permanent and irreversible skin damage that can lead to the development of skin cancer later in life.

It is recommended that all people, regardless of skin type, use a combination of sun protection measures during the daily sun protection times. The sun protection times are issued whenever the UV level is forecast to be 3 or above, and sun protection is recommended.

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What Causes Melanoma Skin Cancer

Many risk factors for melanoma have been found, but its not always clear exactly how they might cause cancer.

For example, while most moles never turn into a melanoma, some do. Researchers have found some gene changes inside mole cells that may cause them to become melanoma cells. But its still not known exactly why some moles become cancerous while most dont.

DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes, which control how our cells function. We usually look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than just how we look.

Some genes control when our cells grow, divide into new cells, and die:

  • Genes that help cells grow, divide, and stay alive are called oncogenes.
  • Genes that keep cell growth in check, repair mistakes in DNA, or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes.

Cancers can be caused by DNA mutations that keep oncogenes turned on, or that turn off tumor suppressor genes. These types of gene changes can lead to cells growing out of control. Changes in several different genes are usually needed for a cell to become a cancer cell.

Natural Remedies For A Sunburn

If you dont want a sunburn, dont spend so long in the sun with exposed skin, if you can help it. You only require so much sun exposure.

If you do end up sunburned, there are some very safe and effective natural remedies for a sunburn you can consider. Apply coconut oil, aloe vera, or baking soda to the skin. Also, cucumber, chamomile, vitamin E and even ice water will all help, applied topically to the burned areas.

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Good And Bad Ways The Sun Can Affect Your Body

Everyone is always exposed to the sun when going out, but not all people know how the sun can affect the body. Apart from healthy effects, the sun has a bad impact on the skin. Too much sun exposure can cause skin cells to die, and lead to skin cancer. Knowing the good and bad ways the sun can affect your skin will help you protect your skin out of damages.

How Does The Sun And Uv Cause Cancer

Skin Cancer is Caused From the Lack of Sunshine
  • Too much ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage DNA in your skin cells and cause skin cancer.
  • In the UK almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented by staying safe in the sun and avoiding sunbeds.
  • Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer, compared to never being burnt.

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How To Spot Skin Cancer

For melanoma skin cancer, any change to your skin can be a concern and people are advised to regularly check their entire body for new or changed moles. The commonly used guidelines include looking for the ABCD signs:

  • Asymmetry two halves of the mole differ in shape
  • Borders edges may be irregular or blurred, sometimes show notches
  • Colour may be uneven, different shades of black, brown and pink
  • Diameter most melanomas are at least 6mm across

The more common non-melanoma skin cancer is not connected to moles and is often less dangerous than melanoma. Nevertheless, people should look out for non-melanoma skin cancer signs:

  • Scab/sore that wont heal
  • Scaly/crusty patch of skin that is red/inflamed
  • Flesh coloured lump that wont go away and grows
  • Volcano like growth with rim and crater

To find out more about the symptoms and how to spot skin cancer, go to the NHS website.

What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer

The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, typically a new mole or skin lesion or a change in an existing mole.

  • Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a small, smooth, pearly or waxy bump on the face, ears or neck, or as a flat pink, red or brown lesion on the trunk or arms and legs.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma can appear as a firm, red nodule, or as a rough, scaly flat lesion that may bleed and become crusty. Both basal cell and squamous cell cancers mainly occur on areas of the skin frequently exposed to the sun, but can occur anywhere.
  • Melanoma usually appears as a pigmented patch or bump but can also be red or white. It may resemble a normal mole, but usually has a more irregular appearance.

When looking for melanoma, think of the ABCDE rule that tells you the signs to watch for:

  • Asymmetry — the shape of one half doesn’t match the other
  • Border — edges are ragged or blurred
  • Color — uneven shades of brown, black, tan, red, white or blue
  • Diameter — A significant change in size , although any mole that is getting larger should be brought to the attention of your dermatologist many melanomas are being diagnosed at much smaller diameters.
  • Evolving — any new spot or mole that is changing in color, shape or size or itches or bleeds.

Continued

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