Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. If detected early, it can be easily cured with a relatively simple surgery. This is why skin cancer only contributes to less than 1% of all cancer deaths. It is categorized into three main types, which is basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
The majority of skin cancers develop from the basal cells, which are round cells found in the lower epidermis. Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are categorized under non-melanoma cancers. Melanoma is known to be the most serious type of cancer and starts in melanocytes. Melanocytes are scattered cells, which are found at the layer where the epidermis meets the dermis.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells mainly due to the exposure of ultraviolet (UV) radiation triggers mutations or genetic defects. This causes the skin cells to multiply rapidly to form malignant tumours. Thus, we are giving you some tips on how to avoid the exposure to UV radiation.
How to be sun safe?
- Limit sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
- Practice the shadow rule; if your shadow is shorter than you, you should find shade.
- Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation.
- Make sure the sunscreen is water resistant and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
- Apply at least 1 ounce of sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors even when its cloudy.
- Reapply sunscreen to your entire body every 2 hours.
Avoid recreational sunbathing, using sun lamps and tanning beds
Wear as much clothing as possible
- Clothing is our first line of defense against the sun’s harmful UV radiation and protects us by blocking or absorbing much of this radiation
- The more skin you cover the better
- As part of the complete sun protection regimen, it is always recommended covering up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses
Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Choose a wide-brimmed (3-inch or greater) hat to cover places like the scalp where it is difficult to apply sunscreen
- Wear sunglasses with 100% UV absorption
- It will provide optimal protection for the eyes and surrounding skin
by Hridya Anand
A biochemist by education who could never put what she studied to good use, finally found GetDoc as a medium to do what she loved - bring information to people using a forum that is dedicated to all things medical. View all articles by Hridya Anand.