Skin Cancer, The Sun and Safety
Skin Cancer, The Sun and SafetySource: Healthcareserve.com Article
Keeping Yourself Sun Safe
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. It is easy to detect early, and has
a good chance of being treated if caught early. Overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays
from the sun causes most incidents of skin cancer. If you sunburn easily or have light
skin you may have a higher skin cancer risk. However everyone, regardless of their skin
type is at risk for skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, which usually appear as a small bumpy growth or
as a red, crusty or scaly patch, are the most common types of skin cancer. Malignant
melanoma is less common, but very dangerous if not caught and treated early. If melanoma
is not removed right away, it can spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Melanoma
usually appears as brown or black spots that often begin in or near a mole.
Signs and Symptoms
Below are a few signs and symptoms of skin cancer. Many of the these signs focus on
changing moles, skin growths or patches. Most people have moles, and most moles are not
harmful. So it is important to review the signs below, so that you will know warning signs
to look for:
- A shiny growth, often with a dent in the center and raised edges. The growth expands
- A patch of skin that bleeds, itches, forms a scab or hurts
- An open sore that fails to heal
- Skin that has been exposed to the sun and develops reddish or brownish rough scaly
- A raised growth that looks like a wart, but often itches and/or bleeds
- A firm lump that gets bigger
- A mole that changes the way it looks
- Moles or dark spots that get blurry, uneven color or increase in diameter
These symptoms are not always warning signs of skin cancer. They can also be caused by
other health conditions. It is important to see a physician if you have concerns about any
of these symptoms. Only a doctor can make a proper diagnosis.
What Can You Do?
Review Your Skin Monthly Stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
If you go out in the sun, always wear sunscreen.
Use UV protected sunglasses for your eyes.
Wear clothes that cover your arms, legs, and neck.
Use brimmed hats to shade your facial area.
Use protective lip balm.
Avoid tanning salons; they use the same ultraviolet rays that causes skin cancer.
Try to look over your skin every month. Skin cancer can pop up anywhere. Be sure to see
your physicians if you have a sore that won't heal, an unusual growth or a mole or wart
that changes color, size or shape. Itchy, tender or painful skin can also be a warning
Follow Sun Safety Guidelines
Use Sunscreen and Sunblocks for Safety
Their are two major types of sun protectants. Sunblocks reflect UV rays away from your
body and sunscreens absorb UV rays before they reach your skin. No matter what type of sun
protection you choose, it will important to make sure it is SPF 15 or greater. Here are
guidelines for sun protectant use:
- Start by using a protectant that is SPF 15 or higher.
- Apply your sun protectant to your skin 15-30 minutes before going out into the sun.
- Always apply more sun protectant after you swim or sweat. Even if the protectant says
"water-proof" it is a good idea to reapply.