Back in the 1970s and 1980s, we didn’t know what could the main cancer cause. If you went to a beach on a sunny afternoon, or take a drive through any housing development, you would have seen young women lying out in the sun. And kids running around outside and playing. What you wouldn’t have seen was a bottle of sunscreen, but instead a bottle of suntan lotion, or worse yet, a bottle of baby oil. We believed, in order to achieve the perfect tan, first came the sunburn. That after the skin started peeling away the painful burn, there would be beautiful golden skin.
Now, we know better, thank goodness. The sun, or more specifically the ultraviolet radiation from the sun, causes skin cancer. Sun lamps and tanning booths also give off ultraviolet radiation and can cause skin cancer.
The most common form of cancer in the United States is skin cancer. More than one million people are diagnosed yearly. Fortunately, skin cancer is 100% treatable if caught early enough.
Other risk factors for skin cancer cause are:
Heredity- If there’s a family history for skin cancer than there’s a better chance of having it. Fair complexioned people, (blond hair, blue-eyed red hair, green-eyed people) are more susceptible.
Environment- Because there is a reduction of ozone layer, the ultraviolet light level is higher today than it was 100, or even 50 years ago.
Elevation- Living at higher elevations will bring you closer to the UV light where it is stronger.
Latitude- Living closer to the equator will also bring you closer to the UV light.
Having multiple atypical moles.Exposure to arsenic mixtures.
Having repeated x-rays is another risk for skin cancer.
Having scars from diseases and injuries on the skin makes your skin more susceptible to skin cancer.
Too much ultraviolet light can do more than just damage our skin and cause skin cancer. The UV light can damage our eyes by burning the corneal, causing cataracts, and other retinal tissue damage. It is recommended to always wear protective eyewear while in the sun. Too much ultraviolet light can also lower the immune system by way of the skin. Too much sun can alter the way our body fights certain diseases such as skin cancer.
There are ways to protect yourself and children from the harmful effects of the sun.
Minimize your exposure to the sun, stay indoors between the hours of 10:00AM to 3PM when the sun’s rays are at its strongest.
Always wear sunscreen of an SPF15 or higher. Even on children. It is now recommended by the AAP to put sunscreen on young babies if protective clothing is not an option. Babies can get overheated easily if they get too hot. Reapply sunscreen often.
Always wear protective eyewear while in the sun.
Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. The sun is still there and it can still cause skin cancer.
Do not use suntan booths and/or sunlamps for long periods of time.
Tips and comments
Do a full body check for any odd looking moles. Get out that mirror and check everywhere. Know the pattern of your skin and monitor closely at any moles that are changing or have changed. Remember the ABCD chart (A-Asymmetric, B-Border, C-Color, D-Diameter, E-Elevation) when looking for suspicious moles. Contact your doctor if you have a suspicious looking mole.
Our skin is the biggest organ of our body. We do not appreciate our skin enough. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. Protect your skin from the sun and its damaging rays. Use sunscreen. Not only will you protect yourself from the cancer causing rays, but you will also be protecting yourself from sunspots and premature aging.
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