Skin Cancer: Risk, Warning Signs, and UV Protection

Girl Talk would like to extend its most sincere appreciation to Dr. Marguerite Barnett for leading a stellar discussion on how we can reduce the risk of skin cancer and the emerging skin cancer surgical techniques at the Mandala Spa and Yoga Shala.

Because we reside in Florida, we spend much more time outdoors and in the sun’s rays than do residents of other states.

Among the different types of cancer, skin cancer is the most prevalent in America. Studies have produced improved techniques in both the therapy and prevention of skin cancer. The NCI claims that skin cancer has a near 100 percent rate of survival, provided that it is diagnosed in its early stages and appropriate therapies are implemented.

skin cancer checkThe primary trigger of skin cancer is ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. Of these, there are two variations, UVA and UVB.

What may increase a person’s risk of skin cancer?

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer

· Long term exposure to the sun’s rays or artificial light such as those produced from tanning beds.

· Having lightly colored skin and other features such as:

Light skin which has freckles and is susceptible to sunburn, rarely tans, or does not brown in the sun.

Eyes in the blue and green family, or other light shades.

Red or Blonde hair.

· A condition known as actinic keratosis.

· Previous history of radiation therapy.

· An immune system which is compromised.

· Men are more susceptible.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

· Being light skinned, and other things such as:

Light skin which has freckles and is susceptible to sunburn, rarely tans, or does not brown in the sun.

Eyes in the blue and green family, or other light shades.

Red or Blonde hair.

· Long term exposure to the sun’s rays or artificial light such as those produced from tanning beds.

· Previous experience with sunburn, particularly in younger years, which produces blisters.

· Possessing a number of moles of different sizes.

· Genetic predisposition to having abnormal moles, known as atypical nevus syndrome.

· Genetic predisposition to or personal experience with melanoma.

What are the types of skin cancer?

The epidermis consists of three different variants of cells:

  1. Squamos cells are narrow and compressed and are the primary component of the skin.
  2. Below the squamos layer are basal cells, which are circular.
  3. In the bottom segments of the epidermis, melanocytes and melanoma are prevalent.

These cells manufacture melanin, the substance which is responsible for the color of the skin. Exposure to sunlight causes the cells to produce greater amounts of pigment, giving the skin a brown or tan color. Melanoma is usually first spotted as an atypical mole.

The ABC’S of melanoma: Warning Signs

A is for Asymmetry

One half is different than the other half.

B is for Border Irregularity

The edges are uneven, scalloped or blurred.

C is for Color

The color is uneven and includes shades of brown, tan,

and black.

D is for Diameter

The diameter is 6 millimeters or greater.

skin-cancer.jpg

Other Warning Signs of Skin Cancer

• The development of a new bump or nodule

• Color spreads into bordering skin

• redness or swelling outside the mole

• pain

• tenderness

• itching

• bleeding

• oozing

• scaly appearance

Dr. Barnett explained that a dermatologist should complete a yearly skin evaluation in order to get an early detection of any cancerous cells. If you notice any abnormal moles, do not hesitate to have them examined. Many cancerous cells can be easily eradicated so long as they are identified early.

Tips for UV Skin Protection

· Limit your time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daylight savings time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time). This is the most hazardous time for UV exposure outdoors in U.S.

• Seek shade, especially during midday hours.

• Wear clothing that will protect exposed skin.

• Wear a wide brim hat to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.

• Use sunblock (not sunscreen) (SPF) 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection.

• Apply sunblock BEFORE going out into the sun.

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