Why the surge in skin cancer?
We have moremobile society – cheap flight to islands…more outdoor and leisure activities.
Several factors can increase a person’s risk of melanoma including sun exposure, sunburns, the number of moles on a person’s skin and family history.
A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, suggests that experiencing five or more sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 could increase melanoma risk by 80 percent.
According to the American Cancer society, sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers.
Ever since the first sunscreen was invented in the 1930’s, the thick and smelly topical has always been the first line of defense against harmful UV rays. But new research out of Manchester University and London’s Institute of Cancer Research, reveals that sunscreen does not offer complete protection from the harmful effects of UV light.
“Sunscreen is an important part of a comprehensive skin care program, but it’s not the only step,” Chapas said. “It’s important to protect yourself in other ways, such as using sun protective clothing, and it’s also good to limit the amount of sun activities you do during peak times, which in the Northeast tends to be between 11 am – 3 pm.”
Skin cancers found early are almost always curable. Chapas said you can catch skin cancer early with self-examinations.
“I recommend that everyone takes a look at their own skin once a month, and if they see anything of concern they should definitely talk to a doctor about it,” Chapas said.
Over time physicians developed a strategy called the ABCDE’s to help people remember the warning signs of melanoma.
A- Asymmetry; one side looking different than the other
B- Border changes; an irregular and uneven border
C- Color changes; having a variety of different colors
D- Diameter; bigger than a pencil eraser
E- Evolving; any change in size, shape, color, elevation