As summer draws closer and we are spending increasing amounts of time outside, we are rapidly upping our exposure to ultraviolet sunlight. That said, it is important that you take the appropriate precautions to protect yourself from a variety of different skin cancers, melanoma being the most notorious form.
The American Cancer Society has put together some facts on skin cancer to help you steer clear of the disease, and be able to detect it early if you should become diagnosed with some form of it. When it comes to your skin, it’s important that you take the appropriate precautions, especially since melanoma will account for 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2012.
What are the risk factors for skin cancer?
- Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (sunlight or tanning booths)
- Pale complexion (easily sunburned, natural red or blond hair color)
- Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
- Family history of skin cancer
- Multiple or unusual moles
- Severe sunburns in the past
What are the signs and symptoms of skin cancer?
- Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot
- Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or node
- The spread of pigmentation beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
- A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
How can you prevent skin cancer?
- Avoid the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Seek shade.
- Slip on a shirt. Choose clothing made of fabric you can’t see through when you hold them up to the light.
- Put on sunscreen daily with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. If you are outside for an extended period of time, reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating.
- Wear a hat. Shield your scalp, face, ears, and neck from the dangerous rays.
- Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption are best for optimal eye protection.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.
How can CladeHealth Tracker Help?
CladeHealth Tracker can store all of your information related to skin health. You can track your family history of skin cancer in this comprehensive app, and you can also store your dermatologist’s health information. If you’ve had any moles removed, you can list those operations under My Procedures, and if you are on any medication that does not respond well to direct sunlight, you can record that as well.
Doctors frequently recommend being on the lookout for strange looking moles. if you are frequently in the sunlight, make sure you inspect your body for strange or new moles. If you have any children, remember to inspect them as well. If you find any new or strange looking moles before you visit your dermatologist, you can keep a note about where the mole is located under My Physicians in CladeHealth Tracker so that you don’t forget about it.
CladeHealth Tracker is a health empowerment tool that will make you more independent and confident when it comes to understanding and speaking about your personal health. It is just as important that you own and track your skin health information as you do your other health information.
For more information: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/SunandUVExposure/skin-cancer-facts