Skin Cancer – Here’s All You Need to Know as Summer Approaches and the Risk Rises!

Skin Cancer – Here’s All You Need to Know as Summer Approaches and the Risk Rises!

Whenever the weather starts to warm up, Americans eagerly exit their homes to get some vitamin D.

However, while vitamin D is very much needed and beneficial, health professionals are also cautioning against the risks of excessive sun exposure.

Professor of Dermatology, Dr. Susan Massick, says that “Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It can be preventable to a certain extent and is linked to the amount of sun exposure people happen to have.”

The following information on skin cancer, including its signs, risks, and prevention strategies, is provided by experts.

As per the American Cancer Society, these cancers are most frequently discovered in sun-exposed areas like the head, neck, and arms.

Although they are frequent, they can usually be treated.

The top layer of the skin, contains squamous and basal cells.

As per the American Cancer Society, basal cell cancers account for about 8 out of 10 cases of skin cancer.

Although it is uncommon for it to spread to other areas of the body, if it is not completely removed, it may return to the same location on the skin. 

Melanoma is far less frequent than other forms of skin cancer, but it can still be dangerous because, if left untreated, it has a higher propensity to spread to other organs.

It happens when melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin begin to grow out of control.

Melanoma can appear anywhere on the skin, but it typically begins on the neck, face, back, or chest.

In updated recommendations released earlier this week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states that more research is required before routine screening for skin cancer in adults and adolescents without risk factors or symptoms is advised.

Experts advise routine screening if you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. This applies to the following:

–       A family history of melanoma.

–       Numerous moles or moles that are unusually shaped, colored differently, or possibly asymmetrical.

–       A lot of actinic keratoses spots, which are lesions that appear as grey or scaly patches on the skin.

Anyone can develop skin cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but some people may be more susceptible than others due to certain traits.

This comprises those who have:

–       Skin that reddens, freckles or burns really easily in the sun,

–       Light colored or red hair,

–       Green or blue eyes,

–       Light skin shade,

–       Older age,

–       Multiple moles.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out for:

In its early stages, skin cancer, more often than not, presents no symptoms, as per the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

With that being said, here are some easy to miss symptoms patients may still experience:

  1. Any mysterious spot: It can include a completely new spot or a previous one that seems to change in shape, size or color. The spot can often feel painful, itchy, red, scaly and rough to the touch.
  2. Different skin manifestations, including:

– a sore that crusts over or bleeds often without healing,

– a skin-colored or red shiny bump sitting on top of the skin,

– a wart-like growth,

– a growth with a raised border and a central crust or bleeding,

– a growth that resembles a scar with no well defined border.

Massick advises people to monitor any skin changes by taking pictures or jotting down the differences as time goes on.

“Cameras on our phones are so effective and they are a good way to try to keep track of moles,” the expert points out.

Other experts also advise avoiding indoor tanning, practicing sun safety and just following an overall healthy lifestyle.

Furthermore, try, as much as possible, to:

–       stay in the shade,

–       cover up your arms and legs while in direct sunlight,

–       shade your face, the ears and neck from the sun by wearing a wide brim hat,

–       wear sunglasses in order to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays,

–       choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.

Massick says that “Like anything, we want to keep a healthy lifestyle. No smoking, staying hydrated, a well-balanced diet.”

Speaking of, Massick also recommends mineral sunscreens that have zinc oxide and / or titanium dioxide in them for your utmost safety.

“Sunscreen ingredients aren’t carcinogens and they are really safe to use, and the byproduct of not using them is an increased risk of skin cancer from the sun,” she points out.

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