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Understanding Skin Cancer: The Facts

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

According to Cancer UK, skin cancer cases are on the rise. While it can be a serious and potentially life-threatening, it can be prevented by adopting healthy habits and taking precautionary measures. Here, James offers advice.
Preventing Skin Cancer: The Facts

Understanding Skin Cancer:


Skin cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the skin begin to grow uncontrollably. The primary cause is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources such as tanning beds. There are different types of skin cancer, with the most common being:

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): Typically appears as a small, waxy lump or a red, scaly patch and usually grows slowly.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): Often presents as a firm, red nodule or a flat, scaly lesion, and has the potential to spread to other parts of the body.

Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer, originating from melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing skin pigment. It can develop from existing moles or as new pigmented growths.


Preventive Measures:


Limit Sun Exposure: One of the most effective ways to prevent skin cancer is to limit exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours (10 am to 4 pm) when UV rays are strongest. Seek shade, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen with a high SPF.

Apply Sunscreen Properly: Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and apply it generously to all exposed areas of the skin, including the face, neck, ears and hands. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if swimming or sweating.

Avoid Tanning Beds: Artificial tanning beds emit UV radiation and increase the risk of skin cancer. It's essential to avoid using them altogether.

Wear Protective Clothing: When spending time outdoors - whether it's a game of golf or a day on the beach - wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirt to shield your skin.

Seek Shade: Seek shade whenever possible, especially during the peak sun hours. Shade helps reduce direct exposure to UV radiation and lowers the risk of sunburn.

Be Sun-Smart Even on Cloudy Days: UV rays penetrate through clouds, so it's crucial to maintain sun protection habits even on those grey days.

Regular Examinations: Perform self-examinations regularly to check for any changes in moles, freckles or new growths. If you notice any changes, consult a dermatologist promptly.

Protect Children: Teach sun-safe habits from an early age and ensure they wear appropriate protective clothing and sunscreen.

 

We understand that skin cancer is a significant health concern, but by taking preventive measures, you can significantly reduce its incidence. For more details about Mohs surgery click here.

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