“Skin cancer affects people of all colors and races”- How to prevent skin cancer

Emobileclinic Trending Topic : Skin cancer

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. It most often develops on areas of the skin exposed to the sun’s rays. Skin cancer affects people of all colors and races, although those with light skin who sunburn easily have a higher risk.

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What does skin cancer look like?

Actinic Keratoses (AK)

These dry, scaly patches or spots are precancerous growths. People who get AKs usually have fair skin.Most people see their first AKs after 40 years of age because AKs tend to develop after years of sun exposure.AKs usually form on the skin that gets lots of sun exposure, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms.Because an AK can progress to a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), treatment is important.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

This is the most common type of skin cancer.

BCCs frequently develop in people who have fair skin, yet they can occur in people with darker skin.BCCs look like a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump or a pinkish patch of skin.BCCs develop after years of frequent sun exposure or indoor tanning.BCC are common on the head, neck, and arms, yet can form anywhere on the body, including the chest, abdomen, and legs.Early diagnosis and treatment for BCC is important. BCC can invade the surrounding tissue and grow into the nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer.

People who have light skin are most likely to develop SCC, yet they can develop in darker-skinned people.SCC often looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then re-opens.SCC tend to form on skin that gets frequent sun exposure, such as the rim of the ear, face, neck, arms, chest, and back. SCC can grow deep in the skin and cause damage and disfigurement. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent this and stop SCC from spreading to other areas of the body.

Melanoma

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma frequently develops in a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. Knowing the ABCD warnings of melanoma can help you find an early melanoma.  

Follow these tips to protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure and reduce your risk of skin cancer:

Apply sunscreen. When you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days, apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. Reapply approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that protects the skin against both UVA and UVB rays and that has an SPF of at least 30. Use these tips when selecting a sunscreen .

Use one ounce of sunscreen, an amount that is about equal to the size of your palm. Thoroughly rub the product into the skin. Don’t forget the top of your feet, your neck, ears, and the top of your head.

Seek shade. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

Protect your skin with clothing. When going outside wear a long‐sleeved shirt, pants, a wide‐brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Use extra caution near water, sand or snow as they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.

Get vitamin D safely. Eat a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, or take vitamin D supplements. Do not seek the sun.

If you want to look tan, consider using a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it. Don’t use tanning beds. Just like the sun, UV light from tanning beds can cause wrinkling and age spots and can lead to skin cancer.

Check your skin for signs of skin cancer. Your birthday is a great time to check your birthday suit. Checking your skin and knowing your moles are key to detecting skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.

A = Asymmetry

One half is unlike the other half.

 B = Border

An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

 C = Color

Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.

 D = Diameter

Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E = Evolving

A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.                              

Areas to look out for

Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then look at the right and left sides with your arms raised. 

  Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms and palms.

  Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet

  Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair for a closer look.

  Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.          

     

   If you spot anything changing, growing or bleeding, see your dermatologist.

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