Your skin is the canvas that covers your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. The last thing you ever want to hear is you have skin cancer! It’s a common problem that affects men and women of all ages though. If you landed on this article, you may wonder why people get this type of cancer so easily and what you can do to prevent it. There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing some form of cancer on the surface of your body at some point in your life. Let’s take a look at those risk factors and some ways you can limit your personal risk of developing skin cancer.
Exposure to Sunlight Poses the Highest Risk
If you have spent a great deal of time in the sun without any type of protection, you may be a candidate for skin cancer. Ultraviolet rays, a small component of sunlight, are damaging to the surface of your body. They are harmful to the DNA found in your skin cells. This can trigger abnormal cell growth on the surface of your body, leading to basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, or melanoma. If you have been sunburned many times over the years, your risk increases. Studies have shown that men tend to be in a higher risk group than women.
The Tone of Your Skin Can Have an Impact on Your Risk
If you are fair and have light colored eyes, your risk of getting skin cancer goes up. Melanin plays a role in skin tone. People with darker tones have larger particles of melanin and a higher number of particles. They also have more of a particular type of melanin known as eumelanin. People with lighter tones have a type of melanin known as pheomelanin. If you are a lighter color, you will burn much more easily, damaging more cells on the surface of the skin. Individuals who are darker are less susceptible to skin cancer, but should still take every precaution like using sunscreen and avoiding prolonged exposure. It is important for all of us to be vigilant and stay on guard for any strange growths or marks on the skin. The earlier skin cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis generally is.
The Risk Increases with Age
If you aren’t diagnosed with cancer on the surface of your body in your younger years, don’t let your guard down! There is an even greater chance it could happen when you get older. At that point in your life, you will have had much more exposure to the sun’s rays than a young person. There is also a chance that a great deal of exposure in your younger years, including serious sunburns, could affect you many years down the line. We may think we’re invincible when we’re young, but that’s definitely not the case!
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk of Getting this Type of Cancer?
The best thing you can do to avoid cancer like this is to wear a strong sunscreen any time you are going to be outdoors. You can even find it in makeup brands that includes some SPF protection, so there really is no excuse! Wear a hat to shield your face from the sun. Wear long sleeves and pants when possible too. If you are in a bathing suit or something that leaves your body uncovered, limit your time spent outdoors while also using a high SPF sunscreen product that’s waterproof. See a dermatologist regularly to have your body evaluated by a medical professional. Your dermatologist may make a map of your body that highlights any areas of concern for future follow-up visits when they check for skin cancer. Otherwise, pictures may be kept on file. Evaluate yourself often as well. If you see a spot that calls for concern, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
If you’re in Trussville, Birmingham or surrounding areas then you can call Associated Dermatologists and schedule your appointment with us. At Associated Dermatologists, we’re here to bring you advanced and compassionate service in a variety of different ways that can bring you comfort, relief, and peace of mind. We’re constantly working to provide the highest standard of individualized care for one of the most important things – Our Skin!! We strive to always be improving the health of our community by delivering a broad range of services, and we stop at nothing to help you.