Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer. UV light is very damaging to the skin cells. When the skin cell are affected, they begin to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in skin cancer. UV light can prevent the immune system from detecting and destroying skin cancer cells.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
Among the conditions that diminish natural protection against UV rays include:
- Skin that burns easily (people with darker skin have more melanin, the pigment that helps protect skin from UV light)
- Living in Ecuador area, at high altitudes or spening long periods of time, outdoors at times when the UV index is high
- The occurrence of some diseases (like HIV) or the result of various treatments such as cancer or transplant treatments, which suppress the immune system – as this decreases the body’s ability to find and destroy specific cells that are causing skin cancer.
- Other factors that increase the risk of developing skin cancer are: severe sunburns, overexposure to ultraviolet rays, arsenic poisoning or burns caused by radium. If a certain type of skin cancer (melanoma) other elements are aslo involved that predispose to its occurrence: a family history of skin cancer, a large number of moles or abnormal types of moles.
Skin Cancer Prevention
The most important thing you can do to avoid skin cancer is to minimize light exposure to ultraviolet rays. This means protecting your skin from the sun and avoiding taning salons.
Here are some tips that could allow anyone to enjoy the time spent in the sun outside, safely
- Use a moisturizer with SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 20. Ideal would be to buy a product that protects against both UVA and UVB types. To increase comfort, some moisturizing creams also have hydration properties in addition to UV protection
- Program of outdoor activities will be limited or avoided between 10 AM – 4PM
- The body should be covered as much as possible with a hat, sunglasses with side protection and clothing (long pants, long sleeve blouse, long skirt)
- Babies under the age of one will be protected from direct sunlight using an umbrella, or using a stroller canopy. Adequate clothing and hats that cover as much skin as possible are recommended.
- Read the prospectus carefully that there are certain drugs used for medicinal substances that increase the risk of skin burns. Some antibiotics and some drugs used to treat acne, can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Women who use contraceptive pills may appear darker on the cheek and forehead when these areas are not protected from sunlight. Any of these situations should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist.
People who love tanned skin can try products in the form of gels or creams that contain a dye that gives the skin a tanned appearance. Usually, the color disappears in about a week, where dead cells from the skin (colored) are removed. These cream products must be applied regularly to maintain color uniformity. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after application to avoid transferring the cream to other parts of the body. Usually, these products offer protection against the sun.
Regular examination of the skin is another way to prevent skin cancer. Everyone should self exam their skin monthly. This will help them understand the skin better, so any changes will be detected easily. Visiting a dermatologist is madatory if you discover significant changes on your skin .
Skin Cancer Early Diagnosis
Most types of skin cancers can be cured if diagnosed early. The secret is to know very well your own skin with it moles and spots.
How to perform a self-examination
- First you need a well illuminated a room, two mirrors, one lower and one higher in order to be able to see difficult to visualize areas. Another person would be very helpful
- Analyze the skin all over your body. To help you remember certain parts you will follow a routine evaluation: for example you might start with large areas of the front of the body, then the back and finally the sides. Then it will move to other areas such as hands and feet (including the skin of the fingers and toes), genital area, buttocks, behind the ears, neck. Also check the sik folds and scalp.
- Moles and birthmarks already present at birth are very important to know about.
The skin should be reexaminated every month and any changes or unusual thing must be reported to your doctor. Annual monitoring should be carried out by a doctor.
When will examine moles will take into account the ABCD’s of skin cancer:
- A – asymmetry – this means that the mole has asymmetrical edges, and the two halfs that form the mole have different shapes
- B – border – moles with jagged edges or notched may signal the presence of skin cancer
- C – color – moles that change color after certain periods of time
- D – diameter – moles larger than 6 mm can be a sign of skin cancer.