The Best Ways To Beat The Deadliest Skin Cancer

We’re about halfway through the summer, and I’ll bet you’ve heard no end of warnings about sun exposure. Stay out of the sun for long periods of time. Avoid the sun during its peak hours. Wear lots of sunscreen when you go out. The litany goes on and on. The dangers of irresponsible sun exposure are real… but they are also misunderstood

It is true that repeated sunburns contribute to skin cancer, but not to the kind of skin cancer that you think. Sunburns can lead to the most common forms of skin cancer-basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. These are superficial cancers, meaning that they don’t easily spread within your body. They are also easily treated when you catch them early.

The kind of cancer you think of when someone says skin cancer is melanoma. This is much more serious. Melanoma can spread throughout your body and be very deadly. But the link between sun exposure and melanoma is tenuous.

There is evidence that sunburn does increase the risk of melanoma. But there is also evidence that sun exposure without sunburn will actually lower your risks.

For example, in one study researchers found that people whose jobs force them to get regular sun exposure are less likely to develop melanoma than those who get no sun exposure as part of their jobs. (1)

In another study researchers discovered that people with melanoma had a greater chance of survival if they spent more time in the sun. (2)

As you can see, the connection between sun exposure and melanoma is more complicated than the simple “Sun is bad,” mantra that you hear from most dermatologists.

The two best ways to protect yourself from melanoma are to understand what responsible sun exposure means and to know how to recognize melanoma in its early stages–early treatment is key to survival.

Know the Skin You’re In

First, here are the keys to healthy sun exposure:

Do get some sunscreen-free sun exposure each week to bolster your vitamin D levels.

Do protect your skin from burning by covering up, finding shade, or using a safe sunscreen with zinc oxide as the active ingredient.

Don’t stay out in the sun for prolonged periods without taking measures to protect your skin.

Do take 1 gram of vitamin C before bed if you burn–it will help your body prevent long-lasting damage to your skin.

Do have a therapeutic lotion on hand in case of sunburn–my favorite is just straight aloe vera jelly.

Next, here are the ABCs of recognize a melanoma in its early stages

A. Asymmetrical Appearance: Take notice of moles that aren’t symmetrical in shape. This is a warning that something might be amiss.

B. Border Irregularity: Moles that have a rough or uneven border may be cancerous or in danger or becoming cancerous.

C. Color Variation: A healthy mole is usually uniform in color. Cancerous moles often have color variations within the mole, ranging from white to red to black to brown.

D. Diameter: Be concerned about any mole larger than a pencil eraser.

E. Elevation Change: Most healthy moles will not undergo any changes whereas a cancerous mole may change from a flat mole to one that is raised or it may grow in size.

If you have two or more of these ABCs in a single mole, it’s time to make an appointment with your dermatologist. It could save your life.

In Good Health,

Jay Brachfeld, M.D.

Effective Ways To Prevent Melanoma Cancer

Melanoma

A diagnosis of skin cancer can be particularly hard to deal with. Even though melanoma is considered the most serious and deadliest form of skin cancer, there is always hope that, in the end, even aggressive cancers can be defeated. If caught early, melanomas are usually curable, but if left untreated, they can quickly spread to other parts of the body, which could lead to a very hard and almost impossible battle.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Recent estimates, published by the American Cancer Society, show that the rates of melanoma have been on the rise for the last three decades. May is officially National Melanoma Awareness Month, created to reduce cancer incidence through awareness. You can personally join the fight against skin cancer and reduce your risk in a number of ways.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Melanoma

Wear sunscreen. If you limit your exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays, you definitely stand a chance to reduce the risk of sunburn and skin damage. Broad-spectrum sunscreen is an effective means to help prevent melanoma.

– Don’t forget to use sunglasses to protect your eyes and wear a hat to shade your face from the sun. Reduce both natural sunlight and artificial sources.

– Visit a healthcare professional and ask about getting regular exams at your dermatologist. Take plenty of Vitamin D, eat nutritious foods and avoid unhealthy lifestyles.

ABCDEs

Always keep an eye out for unusual moles or growths on your skin. Dermatologists have classified melanomas according to these signs:

A – Asymmetry

Look for any moles that are asymmetrical, ragged or uneven.

B – Border

Typically, melanomas have notched or poorly defined borders.

C – Color

Multiple colors, such as brown, red, or white appear inside the lesion.

D – Diameter

Watch for any growths or moles greater than 6 millimeters in diameter.

E – Evolving

Does the mole or the lesion look different from the rest in terms of size, shape or color? If yes, visit your dermatologist immediately!

Get Involved!

You can start by helping local organizations >spread the word. Raising awareness in your community and speaking out about prevention and symptoms can be potentially life-saving activities. Resources such as brochures, wristbands, videos and webcasts could prove to be the key to fighting skin cancer.

Educate the public with brochures containing Info-graphics, a list of the risk factors and website links for newly diagnosed patients. Awareness wristbands can also really make a difference. Aside from being super cool fashion accessories, customized silicone bracelets have a number of other applications. They can be designed to create awareness among the community on various causes. As they are made of durable and non-allergenic silicone, people can wear them every day, reminding others how important it is to be united when fighting for something.

Be there for melanoma patients, and show your support with messages such as “Mel-A-No-More“, “Fighting With My Mom to Beat Melanoma“, “Stay Safe in the Sun“. See for yourself how a single product can make so much difference.

Skin Cancer Prevention – Ten Ways to Protects Yourself From UV Rays

Skin cancer is considered one of the most widespread form of cancers accounting for about 50% of all cancers. It is associated with life-time exposure to ultraviolet radiation, therefore most skin cancers appear after age 50. It is actually more widespread than you may think, one in every 5 Americans will develop it during their life time. It is the leading cancer in the United States, which affects two million people each year.

According to recent reports, 40 to 50 percent of US citizens who survive until age 65 are going to have skin cancer at one time or another. High-risk groups consist of farm owners, laborers, mariners, campers, athletes, individuals going through military training, beach lovers, and picnickers. Research indicates that extreme sunburns during childhood maximize the chance of developing skin cancer later on in life.

The most effective method to prevent developing cancer of the skin will be to protect your skin by keeping yourself away from afternoon sunlight, applying sun screens when out under the sun and also to stay away from sun tanning beds. But besides early diagnosis, you can and really should try everything within your capacity to protect against cancer of the skin from ever happening to begin with.

Top Ten Ways to Protect Yourself From UV Rays

1. Use sun screen lotion that has a Sun-protection Factor (SPF) that is at least 15. Ensure it is water-resistant and re-apply every 2 hours, specially right after swimming or excessive sweating.

2. Apply sun screen lotion 30 minutes prior to going outdoors so that your skin has a chance to absorb it.

3. Be generous in use of sun screen lotion. One ounce of sun screen lotion ought to cover the face, neck, legs and arms of the average adult.

4. Dress in protective clothing, like hats, sun glasses, pants and long-sleeved shirts

5. Look for shade whenever possible, specially during the hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm when the sun rays are strongest.

6. Steer clear of sun tanning beds as ultra-violet light can result in skin cancer and wrinkles. Use a self-tanning product but also use sun screen lotion with it.

7. Safeguard small children by reapplying sun screen lotion frequently with an SPF that is at least 15, having them play in the shade and dress in protective clothing.

8. Children younger than 6 months should never ever be in direct sunlight and should always dress in a hat and clothes that safeguards them from ultra violet rays.

9. Adults ought to perform regular self-exams. It’s a good way to detect abnormalities

10. Consult with your dermatologist and have a full body scan once per year.

Please visit Cancer Survival Stories if you are a survivor of skin cancer and would like to share your story.