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How to Prevent Skin Cancer by Loving the Skin You’re In

Exposure

Exposure to sun every day affects skin and can accumulate over time with serious consequences

Every

Every year between 2 and 3 million people are diagnosed with a form of non-melanoma or melanoma skin cancers

Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate; it doesn’t care about age, height, sex, or the color of your skin. It’s a cancer that shows on the surface, and when left unchecked it can be deadly.

Skin cancer is on the rise, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). One in every three cancers diagnosed is skin cancer, and every year between 2 and 3 million people are diagnosed with a form of non-melanoma or melanoma skin cancers.  Although this cancer is being detected faster thanks to medical advances, more people than ever before are suffering the adverse effects of recreational exposure to sun and a history of sunburn.

There are campaigns around the world that aim to raise awareness about the adverse effects that sitting in the sun with no protection can have: Although the redness and the burnt, tingling sensation goes away, many people don’t realize that overexposure is a risk that might have consequences years later.

The tanning craze is especially dangerous for young people that don’t know or don’t understand the risks they take whilst tanning without protection. It’s important to know what the consequences are of repeated exposure, and to appreciate the other techniques that are available to achieve a ‘healthy glow’ without exposing and ageing your skin and ‘cooking’ it with UV light. In this touching and emotional “Dear 16 year old me” video, some skin cancer survivors take the chance to talk to their past selves and give some valuable advice to other young people.

One of the biggest culprits of melanoma is UVR exposure; one bad sunburn before the age of 18 doubles your chances of developing melanoma. Among those who had ever used a sunbed and were diagnosed between 18 and 29 years of age, three quarters (76%) of melanomas were attributable to sunbed use, according to a 2010 study conducted by the University of Melbourne.

Overexposure doesn’t just happen when sunbathing at a beach or at the pool. Exposure to sun every day affects skin and can accumulate over time with serious consequences. It’s not realistic to expect people not to go out into the sun, which is why the American Cancer Society proposes these four simple steps to remember when going out: Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, wrap on sunglasses and you’re ready to go!

In addition to that, if you are light skinned or have more than 50 moles on your body, you are at greater risk of developing skin cancer. Many campaigns against skin cancer recommend checking out your own skin: if you see a mole that doesn’t look like the others – an ‘ugly duckling’ that is strange color, larger than average, itchy or painful, get it checked out by a doctor.

The message is clear: listen to your skin. Check yourself.