Skin Cancer Protection and Awareness
Hearing the doctor say ‘you have skin cancer’ is something people hear too often around the world. It is an especially common diagnosis where the sun shines year round. Regardless of the temperature, the sun’s UV rays are both powerful forces for good and also dangerous to the skin.
How can a person avoid developing skin cancer? The answers are well known by now. Wear a hat in the sun. Stay out of the sun during the middle of the day. Wear sun screen on exposed skin. One challenge is that people must remember to do this even during the winter when they are doing things outside.
Another challenge is teaching people that UV rays penetrate traditional windows unless they are treated to protect against UV light. Although you should enjoy sunshine every day for your physical and mental health, it is a good idea to install protective windows in rooms of the house that are most popular, especially if children will be playing there.
Not all types of skin cancer are the result of sun exposure. It is possible for an individual to develop this common type of cancer as a result of genetic predisposition. If someone in your immediate family has been treated for skin cancer in the past, then you might also carry the gene. How can you protect yourself when no amount of sunscreen will help?
The answer is to be aware. Keep looking at your moles, perhaps every few months, monitoring them for change. Melanoma is a severe type of cancer, and melanoma symptoms can be hard to spot. You will feel the same as it grows on your skin. There is no nausea, vomiting, or even pain necessarily. Those experiences come during treatment if your cancer has progressed to a point where surgical removal of the mole is not enough to clear out the dangerous cells.
Other forms of skin cancer, such as basal cell (the most common type) will not spread, though the spot could grow and deepen. As a result, the surgeon might have to delve deeply into your skin to remove all traces of the disease. Scarring is the major risk here, and sometimes this is extensive. Unlike melanoma, basal cell skin cancer is not potentially fatal. Like other forms, however, it is often hard to detect.
Watch all freckles and moles to see if they grow beyond a couple of millimeters. View their edges for fraying. Monitor the color: is it the usual shade of brown or tan? When in doubt, seek advice from your doctor promptly.