Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented?

Fortunately, the answer is: most of the time, yes!

Since skin cancers are linked to lifestyle choices, there are many measures that can be taken to make sure we reduce our risks as much as possible. Here is a list of prevention tips to follow:

  • Avoid direct sun exposure in the middle of the day. For most of the world, this means from 11:00AM to 4:00PM (when UV index is 3 or more). Try to limit your outdoor activities within this timeframe. This way you will reduce the risk of absorbing too much UV rays or burning your skin.
  • Seek shade. If you must be outdoors, the best way to protect yourself from the damaging UV light is to stay in the shade.
  • Another way to protect yourself outdoors is to remember the “Slip! Slop! Slap!…and Wrap” This stands for:
    • Slip on a shirt
    • Slop on sunscreen (use a broad spectrum of UVA/UVB with an SPF of 15 or higher, and reapply every 2 hours)
    • Slap on a hat
    • Wrap on sunglasses to protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them
  • Avoid tanning beds. These machines emit UV rays that are known to increase the risk of skin cancer
  • Protect children. Since they are at a higher risk of sun damage and they spend more time outdoors, it is important to protect them regularly but to ask explain to them the dangers of too much sun exposure.
  • Spot-check your moles regularly. Keep an eye on your moles on a regular basis, and have routine check-ups at the doctors on a yearly basis.

Sources:

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-prevention

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/basics/prevention/con-20031606

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