Tag Archives: Skin Cancer

How Much Damage Can the Sun Cause?

Do you know that more than 90% of skin cancer is caused by excessive exposure to the sun? What’s the risk for you to develop skin cancer?

Let’s start with sun exposure. 15-minute sun exposure is enough for the body to generate vitamin D although vitamin D can be obtained from other dietary sources. However, hours of exposure to the sun when less protected can result in serious sun damage. And the biggest threat that the sun poses to our health is its capacity to cause skin cancer.

Sun-damage skin_3044103081_2e267c8a50_mThe sun emits three types of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays, i.e. UVA, UVB, and UVC. It damages the human skin primarily through UVA and UVB. UVA rays are responsible for rashes, and allergic reactions, while UVB rays, for sunburns. Surely, both UVA and UVB speed up skin aging; yet more seriously, they cause skin cancer. These effects vary with seasons, time of the day and location on the planet related to the sun. For instance, the rays are strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the summer. Threat of UVC rays is negligible, since they are essentially blocked by the ozone layer.

Therefore, the number one risk factor of skin cancer is too much time in the sun. Likewise, a history of spending significant time at tanning salons also increases the risk. By now you know that tanning may give a great look on the surface but caustic harm in the deep.

Other risk factors of developing skin cancer include:

  • A sun-sensitive skin type or fair skin
  • Bad sunburns
  • Family history of melanoma or other skin cancers
  • Personal history of melanoma or any type of skin cancer
  • Having many moles (common or atypical ones)
  • Weakened immunity

See our S-H-A-D-E advice to protect your skin from sun damage. And follow our 9-characteristic guide to carefully examine your skin once a month and look for any spots that are new or changing.

For more information about Cancer Risks & Prevention, visit CancerPreventionDaily.

Photo credit: by linh.ngân

How to Identify Warning Signs of Skin Cancer: The Nine Most Important Characteristics to Look For

To minimize your risk of developing skin cancer, the best course of action is to know your skin well and exam it regularly. Why? First, skin is the largest organ on the human body and it deserves attention and care. Second, early detection is crucial, especially since some common types of skin cancers are curable (An exception is melanoma, which is malignant and the deadliest.).

Normal moleSkin cancer can occur just about anywhere on the skin, but most often on the areas exposed to the sun — the scalp, neck, face, lips, ears, arms, hands, and legs. It can also appear in odd places, such as between your toes, underneath your nails, and even around your genitals. With that in mind, here are some characteristics on what to look out for, particularly regarding moles, bumps or skin spots:

Melanoma borderSize: Any new or growing blemish bigger than 5 mm (or a pencil eraser).

Border: Moles or bumps with an irregular border or ragged edges.

Melanoma colorColor: A combination of more than one color.

Height: Uneven surface or bumpy appearance.

Asymmetry: Different appearance on one half compared with the other.

Texture: Scaly and hard, or scaly patch of skin not soothed by lotion or other remedies.

Fluid: Signs of fluid or blood.

Pain: Failure of sores to heal after a week or two.

Evolution/Change: Any changes in size, border, color, surface and etc.

What to do next?
If you notice any of the above signs, check with your doctor who can let you know whether it’s a benign growth or cancer. If necessary, a biopsy will be performed.

Expert Recommendation: Schedule an annual skin cancer screening.

Image credit: The Skin Cancer Foundation
(Top right: a normal mole; middle: malignant melanoma; and bottom: malignant melanoma)

For more information about Cancer Risks & Prevention, visit CancerPreventionDaily.

Staying Cool in the SHADE — 5 Ways to Prevent Sun Damage

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is one of most common cancers in our society, although it is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Do you know that more than 90% of skin cancer is caused by excessive and/or unnecessary exposure to the sun?

Everybody loves the sun! However, just like anything else, you can suffer serious consequence from over-exposure. Here I am going to guide you on how you can protect yourself from sun damage. The acronym “SHADE” is a handy way to remember the keys to sun protection.

No. 1
01111332_Sunright BodyBlock SPF 30S stands for Sunscreen application. Use a moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher on a daily basis. Sun Protection Factor 15 provides protection 15 times longer before sunburn. Accordingly, SPF 30 provides protection 30 times longer. Make sure to use sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB.

No. 2
Sun Protc_thumb_2537912340_955014639d_tH stands for Hiding from the sun. Skin is the largest organ in the body; it’s essential to preserve its function. Whether you stroll under the sun or enjoy outdoors adventures, wear sunglasses, a hat, and cover up with loose clothing. Also, make sure your sunglasses have both UVA and UVB blocking properties.

No. 3
A stands for Away from the sun, Staying away from the sun is especially paramount between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., because this is when the sun is at its strongest, making this time the riskiest for sun damage.

No. 4
D stands for Defense with antioxidants or daily supplements. Sun damage is characterized by generating free radicals and antioxidants (especially carotenoids) are powerful weapons that fight or “catch” free radicals. Build up your antioxidant defense by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and by taking a daily supplement. As research indicates, nutritional supplements can alleviate sun damage and ease numerous skin conditions.

No.  5
Kid-sun-protect-Thumb_2265423267_593107c999_tE stands for Educate everyone. Remember, E is for education, not entertainment under the sun! Start with children and young adults. Instruct skin care equally to women and men. Regardless of gender and age, we are all exposed to the same sun. These days, the sun is even more unkind compared to two or three decades ago due to changes in ozone protection. Thinning ozone layers in the atmosphere cannot filter out UVA radiation and UVB radiation as well as they could previously. M&F sun protec_thumb_2955868940_b1276b6e6e_tTherefore, skin damage happens earlier and at a deeper level.

Let’s recap the 5 ways that you can protect yourself from sun damage:

Sunscreen should be applied daily.
Hide behind the sun.
Away—stay away from the sun during its most intense hours.
Defense against the sun should include using a daily supplement.
Educate everyone—young and old, men and women.

Take home message:
The acronym SHADE stands for a set of effective weapons against sun damage. Armed with SHADE, you are safe when you enjoy the great outdoors on a nice, sunny day.

Phonto credits: by ktylerconk, Graham and Sheila , and by goodrob13