How to Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer

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Every year over 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the US. This type of cancer is the most common, and luckily, the most treatable. However, what’s even better is the fact that you can reduce the risk of developing this horrid disease. Today we will explain who falls into the high-risk group for this condition and offer some effective prevention tips approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Skin Cancer: Types and Causes

There are three types of skin cancer:

  1. Basal cell carcinoma
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma
  3. Melanoma

The first two types are highly treatable if diagnosed early. Melanoma, on the other hand, is accountable for 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Considering the fact that basal and squamous carcinomas constitute 95% of all diagnosed skin cancer cases, you can see how deadly this disease is. Therefore, it’s essential to take the steps that can prevent this condition from developing.

The scientists have yet to discover the exact cause of cancer. The only thing we can be certain of at the moment is that this disease occurs due to a combination of several factors. However, numerous studies determined that one of the major contributors to the occurrence of these cancers is UV radiation that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Note that ANY kind of UV rays can cause cancer. Therefore, ultraviolet tanning beds are just as dangerous as sunlight.

Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

No one is 100% safe from this disease, but certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing it. You need to be extra careful with your exposure to sun radiation if:

  • You are blond or redhead
  • Your skin is fair and burns easily
  • You’ve experienced numerous sunburns (especially before the age of 18)
  • You are working an outdoor job and spend many hours out in the sun
  • You have lots of freckles
  • You have over 30 large moles on your body
  • You have a family history of this condition
  • You are regularly exposed to tar, creosote, radium, or arsenic compounds

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

Regardless of whether you fall in one of the aforementioned categories or not, you should follow these simple rules to reduce the risk of developing this dangerous condition.

  • Stay out of the sun from 10 AM to 4 PM.
    During this time, the sunlight UV radiation is the most harmful. If you want to get a natural tan, you should sunbathe before or after these hours. The early morning light is the best for giving your skin a pleasant golden hue.
  • Avoid sunburn.
    Every single sunburn increases the risk of melanoma, so take great care to avoid this problem. Not burning also means that you won’t have to experience a large amount of pain and discomfort associated with the recovery process. Don’t stay out in the sun for long, even if you want to get a tan. Seek the shade the moment your skin starts feeling too hot.
  • Don’t use UV tanning booths.
    Getting a tan is always a risk, but doing so in a UV booth definitely is an unnecessary risk. This equipment is not safe, regardless of what the manufacturers claim. One of the popular UV booths promotion lines is that they help you get some vitamin D, which is generated by your body as a reaction to sunlight exposure. However, there are much safer ways to get this vitamin, just like there are safer ways to get a tan in winter.
    If you want to give your skin a natural bronze hue, use fake tan, which can be applied in a specialized spray booth to ensure even coverage.
  • Bundle up when going out in the sun.
    Wear light but covering clothes and a broad-brimmed hat to protect from the sunlight. If you have to spend large amounts of time outdoors, look for specialized clothes with an “UPF” label.
  • Always wear sunscreen.
    Never leave your home without applying a layer of sunscreen, which is your #1 protection from the harmful UV rays. Reapply it as often as necessary and don’t forget that there is no difference between summer and winter sun in regards to harmful UV radiation, so you need to use sunscreen ALL the time.
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