When it comes to preventing skin cancer, knowledge is power. If you're unsure what you need to know about skin cancer, you've come to the right place. Here are a few important things you should know about skin cancer.
It might be a bummer, but it's true. UV light is responsible, at least in part, for the development of multiple types of skin cancer. And not just during the summer! UVA and UVB rays have the ability to penetrate through the clouds, which means protecting yourself at all times while you're outside is a necessity. Almost 90% of melanoma skin cancers and 86% of melanomas have been directly linked to UV radiation from the sun. In addition, squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas have been linked to UV radiation exposure. This is why it's critical to protect your skin while you're outdoors. If you're a lover of the sun, it's important to make sure you schedule regular skin cancer screenings to identify any early signs of skin cancer as soon as possible.
Skin cancer, particularly melanomas, can develop anywhere on your body. Even though most skin cancer is depicted on bare skin, the truth is that a melanoma can appear on the scalp, nails, feet, mouth, and even places like your groin which aren't typically exposed to sunlight. These hidden melanomas present a big risk if they're not caught early on. Without early detection and treatment, melanoma can quickly spread internally to other areas of the body and become fatal.
UV radiation, as we mentioned above, contributes to the development of skin cancer. That includes the artificial UV radiation in indoor tanning booths. If there's one thing you can do to prevent skin cancer, it's steering very clear of any kind of indoor tanning salon. Even a single indoor tanning session can increase your risk for developing skin cancer. If you really want some color on your skin, consider a self-tanning cream.
Sunscreen isn't an advanced piece of technology, but it's one of the most effective forms of protection against UV radiation. No matter the color of your skin, sunscreen should be a necessity year-round. Of course, it does need to be applied correctly to protect your skin. That means applying at least 15 minutes before you go outside and applying more than one coat if it’s been over two hours since the previous coat or you have been swimming or sweating. This process is critical to protecting your skin. And while sunscreen shouldn't be your only defense against the sun, it should always be your first.
Whether you're in a high-risk group for developing skin cancer or you're concerned about a few moles on your body, regular skin cancer screenings are vital. These screenings can help detect early signs of cancer that you might not see in a self-exam. If you have a history of excessive sun exposure, fair skin or light-colored hair, or a history of irregular moles, you should be investing in regular skin cancer screenings with your dermatologist
Knowing what primary causes of skin cancer and a few ways to protect your skin are the best weapons you have to prevent skin cancer from affecting your life. If you have questions about skin cancer treatment or want to schedule a skin cancer screening, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology to set up an appointment today.