Eight Measures to Help Prevent-Skin-Cancer

You can prevent-skin-cancer by avoiding exposure to direct sun light. Most cases of skin cancer are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation of the sun. People with light complexions have a higher rate of skin cancer than those with dark skin, and males are more likely to develop skin cancer than females.

Skin cancer like all cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells and its prevention begins and ends with a healthy lifestyle including a change in eating habits.

Eight Measures to Help Prevent-Skin-Cancer

  1. Modify your diet. Studies have suggested that a diet low in fats and high in fruits and vegetables decreases cancer risk. Compounds called lycopenes, which are present in grapefruit, tomatoes, and watermelon, have been linked to reduced risk, as has the nutrient selenium, which is found in nuts, oranges, and wheat germ.
  2. Take supplements including a multivitamin & mineral compound, Curcumin, Pomegranate extract, and grape seed extract. Discuss all supplements with your family physician. Nutritional supplements do not cure or prevent illness and disease.  They only give the body the extra nutrition it needs to take care of itself!  
  3. Drink one to two cups of green tea per day.
  4. Eat less meat and more fish especially deep water fish rich in Omega 3 oils.
  5. Some techniques that you can use to prevent-skin-cancer include avoiding risk factors, particularly prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Sunlamps and tanning beds should be avoided.
  6. Stay fit by following a consistent exercise program.
  7. Manage the stress in your life and laugh more.
  8. A skin examination by a physician every three years for people between the ages of 20 and 40 and yearly examinations thereafter is recommended to prevent-skin-cancer. Regular self-examinations of the skin are also recommended, and any unusual growth or appearance should be checked by a physician. We make it a point to see our dermatologist once each year.

Skin cancer starts in the outer layer of your skin, in one of three types of cells. These cells are basal, squamous or melanoma. There are two forms of non-melanoma skin cancer, both of which can usually be treated successfully with minor surgery.

An unusual growth, mole, or other abnormal appearance on the skin is the typical symptom of non-melanoma skin cancer. Moles or growths that are new, change shape rapidly, or that will not heal are signs of skin cancer and should be examined by a dermatologist.

We need to be able to recognize the appearance and characteristics of the various types’ of skin cancer to prevent-skin-cancer. There are three types of skin cancer that together account for about half of all reported cancers.

The three types of skin cancer are:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma – This is the most common form of skin cancer and usually appears as slow growing, translucent, raised, pearly nodules. These, if untreated, may crust, ulcerate and sometimes bleed. Basal cell carcinomas rarely spread to surrounding tissue. This form of skin cancer is highly curable if treated early. Recurrence of this cancer is common.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is a common form of skin cancer that appears as nodules or red scaly patches. Squamous Cell Carcinoma can metastasize if untreated. This form of skin cancer is highly curable if treated early. If not it can sometimes result in death.
  • Melanoma (Cutaneous melanoma) – Is a disease of the skin in which malignant cells are found in the cells that color the skin or specialized skin cells that produces the protective skin-darkening pigment melanin. Melanoma is the least common but fastest growing and most dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanoma is responsible for nearly three-quarters of all skin cancer deaths and is increasing in frequency. Unlike other skin growths, melanoma is always malignant.

Whites are 20 times more likely to develop melanoma than are blacks. People who have fair skin or who freckle easily are particularly susceptible. Individuals with a large number of moles or with several very large moles are also at increased risk. Similar to all cancers, melanoma is caused by changes in DNA that alter a cell’s ability to control its growth. The most common cause of DNA damage is ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.

Self-examination and regular medical examinations will help to prevent-skin-cancer. Unlike most forms of cancer, skin cancer can be easily seen. Self-examination is essential for early detection. Check for visible warning signs and report those to your physician.

Know the warning signs to prevent-skin-cancer

  • Asymmetry – one half of a skin lesion is unlike the other half.
  • Border irregular – the borders are irregular, ragged, or blurred.
  • Color – the color of the mole is varied from one area to another, with differing shades of tan and brown, black, red, blue or white.
  • Diameter – The mole is larger than a pencil eraser. I know of one person whose mole was as small as a pencil point and a dark black.
  • Evolution – the mole has been growing or changed its shape or color.

You can prevent-skin-cancer risk by avoiding prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Exposure can be reduced by staying out of direct sunlight during periods of peak intensity (11:00 AM to 3:00 PM). You can also use a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher. The sunscreen will provide protection from the sun but will also block production of vitamin D. You can consider wearing protective clothing when outside, such as a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and sunglasses. Do not use tanning beds. Have an annual check-up by your dermatologist.

It is important to note that up to ninety percent of our vitamin D comes from the sun. Vitamin D has a significant role in regulating our immune system and aides in the prevention of many chronic conditions including cancer. Our goal should be to avoid sunburn and not sunshine.

References and suggested reading:

  • "melanocyte." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011.
  • "melanoma." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011.
  • "skin cancer." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011.

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