you are protecting your life.
By taking care of your skin,
will reduce the risk of skin cancer tomorrow.
Protecting your kids from the sun today,
I always protect my skin!
is always trendy.
Protecting yourself from the sun,
Skin cancer is a term that includes a group of neoplastic diseases. The term is important not only due to its common occurrence, but to the fact that it is preventable and treatable.
Its origins lay in the damage caused by UV rays to ADN, combined with the failed attempt to repair that damage effectively and/or the inability to eliminate or repair the pre-carcinogen lesions on skin.
There are three major types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Skin cancer can be prevented by informing ourselves, informing the population about the consequences of sun exposure without UV ray protection and common habits to prevent skin cancer, such as avoiding tanning bed and utilizing sunblock daily.
Surgery is a common treatment, but there are other options, specially for pre-carcinogen situations such as actinic keratosis.
Despite the fact that the occurrence of skin cancer has grown and keeps growing around the globe, the majority of cases are treatable if detected early, therefore it is highly important to perform frequent evaluations and be informed about how to perform self assessments.
There are two main types of skin cancer:
- No Melanoma
Skin cancer can be prevented by educating ourselves, informing the public about the consequences of unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays and common practices for preventing skin cancer, such as avoiding tanning beds and daily sunblock use, among others.
Surgery is usually the treatment of choice, but there are other options, mainly for precancerous situations such as actinic keratosis.
Although skin cancer’s incidence has grown and continues to grow rapidly around the world, most cases are treatable if diagnosed early, a situation where it is very important to have periodic skin checkups and learn self-diagnosis.
When a melanoma is detected and treated during early stages, it is usually curable. Some melanomas are not easily spottable (in areas usually covered by clothes, hair on in hidden areas), but most of them, are easy to detect, as long as you know how to identify them.
Most people have skin spots (freckles, birth marks, moles, etc.). Most of these are normal, but some of them might be carcinogen, therefore it is important to be alert and informed about how to identify melanomas.
The ABCDE criteria, also known as melanoma’s ABCDE, stands for asymmetry, borders, color, diameter and evolving.
A – ASYMETRY
A) This benign mole is not asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle, the two sides will match, meaning it is symmetrical. If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match, meaning it is asymmetrical, a warning sign for melanoma.
B – BORDER
B) A benign mole has smooth, even borders, unlike melanomas. The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.
C – COLOR
C) Most benign moles are all one color — often a single shade of brown. Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, white or blue.
D – DIAMETER
D) Benign moles usually have a smaller diameter than malignant ones. Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil tip (¼ inch or 6mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.
E – EVOLVING
E) Common, benign moles look the same over time. Be on the alert when a mole starts to evolve or change in any way. When a mole is evolving, see a doctor. Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — points to danger.
Basic advice to protect your skin
- Daily use of sun protector with 30 FPS or more. Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure and re-apply every two hours.
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure, specially between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Take shelter under trees or anything that might provide protection from the sun.
- If exposed to the sun, wear clothes that protect you: long sleeve shirts, hats, sunglasses with UV protection, etc.
- Avoid tanning, both natural and artificial.
- Do not expose new borns to the sun. Sunblock should only be applied on babies 6 months or older.
- Visit your doctor every year for a professional skin health assessment.
- Self Assessment: it can be helpful for early detection of skin cancer, should be performed on a monthly basis.