1. Sun Exposure increases the risk of skin cancer
Many people consider continuous sun exposure to be harmless because they believe the worst thing that can happen to them is sunburn, which heals after a couple of days. However, what most people don’t realize is that ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun adversely alters their skin cells and greatly increases the risk of cancer in the long run. Additionally, an estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends wearing protective clothing in the sun and using a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
2. Using sunscreen is not enough
Although applying sunscreen to your skin minimizes the negative effects of the sun, habitually using it doesn't guarantee you won't develop skin cancer. In fact, the sun is only one of the factors associated with developing skin cancer. In addition to UV rays, toxins, cigarettes and a poor diet could also contribute to the development of skin cancer.
3. Any mole can become malignant
Most cases of skin cancer can develop from a spot that begins to grow abnormally. However, in other cases it may arise from a preexisting mole that was invaded by malignant cells. This variety of moles known as melanomas is relatively uncommon but is the most aggressive.
4. Tanning booths can be dangerous
Continuously using tanning booths is a risk factor that should not be ignored. Although it seems like a good alternative to sun exposure the truth is tanning machines also emit some degree of ultraviolet radiation, which can be dangerous. Indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than those who have never tanned indoors. In fact, more people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking. Researchers estimate that indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 new cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year.
5. An infection can cause skin cancer
Other possible causes of skin cancer are chronic injuries and swelling that occur from severe burns and infections. If the skin that protects the inner part of the body has a serious condition, the risk of developing malignant cells increases significantly.
6. Perform a skin self-exam for early detection
A skin self-exam can help you find skin cancer early when it is most treatable. Examine your body (front and back) in front of a mirror, looking at your elbows, forearms and the back of your upper arms. Closely check your feet, the spaces between your toes and your soles. Lastly, with a hand mirror scan your back, the back of your neck and your buttocks. Because research shows that women are 9 times more likely than men to notice melanomas, The American Academy of Dermatology encourages women to help their male partners examine their skin for signs of cancer.
7. The "ABCDE" rule to identify skin cancer
The sudden appearance of brown spots on the skin and abnormalities in moles are the most obvious sign of possible skin cancer. However, there's a method that can help you discern whether the moles or spots that appear on your skin are a cause for cancer.
Just follow the "ABCDE" rule:
- A- Asymmetry: One part of the mole or birthmark does not match the other.
- B- Border: The edges of the mole are uneven and look abnormal.
- C- Color: The color of the mole includes brown and black shades. However, moles may sometimes turn white, blue or reddish color.
- D- Diameter: The Mole is a little over 1/4 inch wide, or 6 millimeters, the size of a pencil eraser.
- E- Evolving: Over time you notice changes in the shape, size and color of the mole.
Remember the most effective way to prevent the development of skin cancer is through an early examination by your
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