How to protect against skin cancer

By  , Expert Content
Aug 16, 2011

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Skin cancer is a common type of cancer. The three common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma. Of these, the basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are highly curable, but melanoma is difficult to treat and can be dangerous.

How to protect against skin cancer: Exposure to sun is a common cause of skin cancers. The ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sunlight damage the cells of the skin and can cause cancer. Hence, protection from sun exposure is important to prevent all the three types of skin cancer. You need protection from sun exposure not just during summer or at the beach but throughout the year. The time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. is most hazardous for UV exposure in most parts of the world.

According to experts some easy measures to protect against sun exposure include:
Shade: The risk of skin damage and skin cancer can be reduced by decreasing exposure to sunlight by being in shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter. Stay in shade, especially during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (the time when UV exposure is most dangerous).  If you have to go out in sun, use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you're outside.

Clothing: Long-sleeved shirts and long pants can protect the exposed skin from the sun's UV rays. Dark colour clothes probably give more protection than lighter colours.

Hats: To protect the face, head, ears, and neck from sun, wear a hat with a brim which shades these parts from exposure to sun rays. Hats made from tightly woven fabric, such as canvas offer better protection than straw hats with holes that let sunlight through.

Sunglasses: Sunglasses that wrap around and block almost 100% of both UVA and UVB rays should be used. These glasses protect the delicate skin around your eyes from sun exposure and reduce the risk of cataracts as well.

Sunscreen: UVA and UVB rays of the sun can cause damage to your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Use of sunscreen is advised before you go outside, even if it is cloudy, if exposure is only for a short time or even if it is a cool day. Apply on all parts of the exposed skin. The sunscreen acts by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. The chemicals in the sunscreen cover the skin to protect it from UV rays. Use a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of least 15. The higher the number the higher is the protection. It is advisable to reapply it you stay out in the sun for more than two hours, after you swim or sweat.



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