Preventing and Controlling Skin Cancer

Cancer is becoming more and more prevalent around the world and skin cancer is the most common form. There are two types of skin cancer that are seen the most often – squamous cell and basal cell – and both of them have a high rate of success in curing. There is a third type of skin cancer – melanoma – and it is the most dangerous of all, especially to the younger generations. Why? Because 65 to 90 percent of all melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. This includes exposure to sunlight.

In 2004 alone – which is the most current statistics available – 50,039 people in the United States alone were diagnosed with some form of melanoma skin cancer. 7,952 people in the United States died from it that same year. Medical organizations and the government do not track incidences for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer so the number of people in the United States that were diagnosed with a form of skin cancer is probably higher.

Prevention and control for skin cancer is not just determined by what you do to protect yourself. It is also determined by specific risk factors each of us faces. Some people are more prone to the development of skin cancer than others. Risk factors can include, but are not limited to:

o Skin coloring that is light in natures

o Family history of skin cancer

o Personal history of skin cancer

o Exposure to the sun through playing or through the person’s job

o History of sunburns during childhood

o Skin that burns, reddens easily, freckles, or hurts when exposed to sunlight

o People with blue or green eyes

o People with blonde or red hair

o People who have a specific type of mole in large quantities over their body.

If you find that you fall into any of these risk factors then prevention and control for skin cancer should become a way of life for you. We cannot avoid going outside and it is proven fact that people need so much sunshine and fresh air for their well-being. With this being the case, anyone who is at risk should practice good prevention and control for skin cancer.

Prevention and control for skin cancer is actually very easy and just requires getting used to using sun-protective practices on a daily basis. It is very easy and here are a few things that medical professionals and governmental organizations recommend for safe outdoor protection from UV rays:

1. Seek a shady spot or go indoors between the hours of 10am and 4pm on a sunny day. This is when the UV rays from the sun hit the Earth the hardest and can do the most damage to your skin. As our ozone layer is thinning, more UVA and UVB rays get through making prevention and control for skin cancer even more important.

2. If you need to be outside during those hours, cover up any exposed skin with clothing. Clothing provides a barrier between your skin and the rays. Wearing white also helps as white reflects sunlight and heat.

3. Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect you face, head, ears, and neck from the sunlight. A baseball cap will leave areas exposed.

4. Get a pair of sunglasses that wrap around your eyes as much as possible and blocks out UVA and UVB rays. Look for a pair that blocks these rays close to 100%.

5. Wear sunscreen that is rated SPF 15 or higher and also blocks UVA and UVB rays. Even if you are just running out to the store, rubbing some sun block on your face, neck, arms and hands will go a long way to protecting you from harmful radiation.

When you use a combination of all these methods as prevention and control for skin cancer, you are giving yourself a better chance of not being stricken with it. Remember that some UV rays can also reach you on cloudy and hazy days and can reflect off of things like water, sand, snow, and cement. Make sure you follow the same methods during these times as you do in the summer.

If you are serious about the prevention and control for skin cancer for yourself, stay away from the tanning beds. Everyone claims they are safer, but it still takes UV rays to give your body that golden look. Even if those UV rays are manmade, they can still cause skin cancer.

One last note: if you notice any abnormalities in moles or freckles on your body, or you see something strange on your skin that has suddenly developed, contact your family doctor right away and have them examined. This could be the first signs of a skin cancer problem and the sooner it is caught and treated, the better off you will be.