Debunking Skin Cancer Myths
There was once a time, when hearing that someone is suffering from cancer was a rare thing, because cancer was not a prominent disease. However, today, most people know someone who is suffering from cancer in some part of their body. Skin cancer has become one of the most prevalent types of cancer.
What is interesting is that while there are several things that people do not know about skin cancer, there are just as many myths associated with it as well. Here are some of the most common myths, related to skin cancer:
• People with dark skin are not at risk for sun damage or skin cancer:
It is considered that people with lighter skin are more prone to skin cancer, while people with darker skin are safe. Although people with darker skin are comparatively safer, in no way is their skin completely safe from skin cancer or damage caused due to the sun’s rays. People with darker skin too need to take care of their skin, especially when they are stepping out in the sun, and they too need to invest in good quality sunscreen. As a matter of fact, darker people face greater danger, because detecting skin cancer in them is much tougher and in many cases, the diagnosis comes a little too late.
• Simply because there are not too much outdoor activities in one’s routine, they have less risk for skin cancer:
You might not be someone who spends hours outdoors, but you would obviously step out for a few minutes each day. This could be to send your child to school or purchase groceries; it could even be the time you take to walk from the car park into the mall. Adding up all these tiny amounts of times of sun exposure would be enough to lead to skin damage. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that brief amounts of time spent outdoors, between 10 am and 4 pm, are more than enough to cause squamous cell cancer. Although squamous cell cancer might not be as severe or serious as melanoma, it can become extremely difficult to treat, if not caught in time.
• Those who are out in the snow, skiing or snowboarding need not wear sunscreen, because during the winter months, the sun is not strong enough:
The winter months are the most dangerous, because during the summers, people knowingly take all the required protection, such as hats, clothing and sunscreen. However, during the winter months, the sun provides a sense of warmth that most people enjoy, but little do they realise that the sun is still powerful enough to cause damage. In addition, when you are out on the white snow, the rays of the sun tend to get reflected, leading to greater chances of skin cancer. This is why sunscreen is just as important in the winter months.
• If the day is cloudy, you can skip the sunscreen:
Simply because the sun is not visible does not mean that it is not there or that it cannot cause any damage. Even when the sun is hidden behind the clouds, the ultraviolet rays are able to penetrate and they can cause much damage to your skin. While you might not feel the heat of the sun as much, there is still the chance of you getting a sunburn. This is why, even on a cloudy day, you need to make sure that you wear plenty of sunscreen and have protective clothing when stepping out.
• All sunscreens are the same:
While most people think that sunscreens that have a sun protection factor or SPF of 30 is the best, there are actually several levels to this protective lotion too. Understanding the same is the first step towards being sun safe. For starters, if you do not apply ample amount of sunscreen or apply it incorrectly, then even the most powerful sunscreen might not be enough. If you are someone who does not like to slather on sunscreen, then it would make sense to invest in a higher grade. People who spend greater amount of time in the sun and tend to sweat a lot will have to apply more sunscreen.
• It is only UVB radiation that can lead to skin damage and cancer:
Both UVA and UVB are dangerous and can lead to damaged skin, which is why you need to look for a sunscreen that provides protection against both.
• Tanning will reduce the chance of getting skin cancer:
Simply because you are someone who gets tanned and not sunburnt, does not mean that you will not get skin cancer. The very fact that you are getting tanned means that your skin has been altered. When the colour of your skin changes, it is an indication of damage and studies have shown that more the tanning on your skin, the greater the chances of you getting cancer! When your skin has been exposed to too much sun, there is an increase in the amount of melanin and this could lead to melanoma. Some of the other problems would include wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation.
• Cut off a mole that looks suspicious and you will be safe from cancer:
A mole might look bad and cutting it off could provide you with a cosmetic solution that makes you happy. However, in many cases, the mole is actually step one to skin cancer, which is why, the moment you see a suspicious mole, it would be best that you head to a dermatologist, who will be able to decipher the same.