The Best Preventive Measures Against Cancer

The Best Preventive Measures Against Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and it’s never too early to take steps to protect your skin. While new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year, it’s important to raise awareness of the dangers of skin cancer so that you know how to keep your skin safe.

The providers at A to Z Dermatology want you to know that you can take some proactive steps to lower your skin cancer risk. Seeing a dermatologist for regular checkups is one of the best ways to protect your skin. Read on for some practical tips to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. 

Common types of skin cancer

The following are three of the most common types of skin cancer:

Basal cell carcinoma: This type of cancer starts in the basal cells of the skin’s outer layer and can manifest as a pearly or waxy lump, as well as a flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion.

Squamous cell carcinoma: This cancer develops in squamous cells, which are found in the skin’s outer layer. A hard, red lump or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusty surface are common symptoms.

Melanoma: Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, accounting for only a small percentage of all skin cancers. Melanoma symptoms include a large brown spot with darker speckles; a mole that changes color, size, or feel, or bleeds; a small lesion with an abnormal border and sections that appear red, white, blue, or bluish-black; and dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips, or toes, as well as mucous membranes lining your nose and mouth.

Use sunblock to protect your skin

Just because it's gloomy doesn't mean you can skip the sunscreen – ultraviolet (UV) radiation can still penetrate through clouds and harm your skin. When exercising or swimming, reapply sunscreen every 20 minutes. Reapplication is especially necessary when the UV index is at its peak, which is normally between 11 am and 2 pm. We recommend broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and at least an SPF of 30 for best protection.

Wear protective clothing

Keep those shirts on, even if it's tempting to take them off. Instead of ordinary cotton fibers, look for protective apparel with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. A UPF 50 rating indicates that one in every fifty of the sun’s rays reaches the skin.

UPF is affected by the weave of the fabric (a tighter weave provides more protection), the weight and density of the fabric, and the color. UPF labels are frequently found on long-sleeved shirts, slacks, and wide-brimmed hats.

Wearing protective clothing can reduce the risk of skin cancer and prevent sunburns. Sun protection is an important component of skin cancer prevention since it greatly reduces UV radiation.

Avoid tanning and sunbathing

Even if you’ve used sunscreen, are you still exposing your skin to the sun? Trying to achieve a sun-kissed complexion might have disastrous results. Sunbathing is dangerous because UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells. When those cells are destroyed, it causes skin aging and can lead to skin cancer.

Reapply a water-resistant, wide-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every 2-3 hours at the beach, and much more frequently if you're in the water or sweating.

Indoor tanning beds emit radiation that is sometimes stronger than the sun. This can result in skin cell changes. When cells get modified, they can continue to grow into cancerous tumors.

Get a yearly check-up

Annual visits to your dermatologist are an excellent approach to monitor skin changes. These alterations are where skin cancer begins, thus it’s important to have them checked as soon as they show up. What appears to be a non-healing pimple or a typical mole may in fact be skin cancer. A dermatologist is specially trained to identify skin changes that may signal trouble.

For a skin health checkup, and to learn more about how you can prevent skin cancer, give us a call to schedule a visit with one of our providers. We have offices in Chandler, Mesa, Sun City, Casa Grande, and Gold Canyon Arizona. You can also request an appointment online

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