Skin cancer is one of the most common tumors, melanoma being the deadliest among them, according to experts from the Many Association of Against Cancer.
The incidence of this serious condition has increased considerably (even doubling in recent times, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention ).
The main reason for this increase is the lack of common sense when exposing yourself to ultraviolet rays (either solar or artificial, through tanning beds).
The new paradigm of beauty identified as the perfect tan , in addition to a certain level of mass hysteria in trying to achieve it, has also conspired in the widespread mistreatment of the skin.
How to act to help prevent skin cancer?
Most specialists agree that it is not about hiding completely from the sun , but about exposing yourself to it with the greatest possible precaution. What is asked of people is good sense, sanity and responsibility for their own well-being.
For this reason, the use of sunscreen should be part of the routine of all those who carry out activities in broad daylight, outside closed spaces.
To use these products, it is not necessary to go to the beach. The damaging action of ultraviolet rays is as lethal in cities or mountains as it is by the sea.
On the other hand, all athletes who practice outdoors and in the sun must also take measures to protect the health of the dermis and help prevent skin cancer.
On the beach care must be extreme. Experts say sunscreens should be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and have an SPF of 15 or higher . In addition, they should be applied regularly every two hours, after getting out of the water or after practicing any physical activity that generates abundant perspiration.
Clothing and some accessories –such as hats– are equally useful to protect the body from the direct and unfiltered action of ultraviolet rays.
On the other hand, tanning beds should not be part of an established routine. Its excessive use can generate the appearance of skin cancer. This is stated in an article published by the Costa Rican Journal of Public Health .
Tanning beds that emit UV radiation were classified by a group of researchers, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as Group 1 “carcinogenic to humans.” The risk of melanoma increases by 75% when tanning beds are used at an early age.
moles and melanomas
The American Cancer Society would state that most people have moles, and almost all of them are harmless. However, it is important to recognize changes in a mole (such as its size, shape, color, or texture), which may suggest that a melanoma is developing. Keeping all skin moles under constant observation is one of the most efficient ways to detect the possible appearance of this disease.
At the slightest sign of a change visible to the naked eye, all the alarm signals should already be triggered. Likewise, the attention of a specialist doctor is required without delay. We cannot forget that some melanomas appear after the undue evolution of a freckle .
Some of the unwanted changes that moles can present are:
- Increase in size.
- asymmetric shapes.
- Non-uniform edges.
They can also start to itch and bleed. In some cases, points that were solid (black or brown) begin to take on red, blue or white tones .
Other warning signs of skin cancer
Moles are not the only items that require vigilance . New spots, bumps, sores, or changes in texture (rough or extremely smooth to the touch) should also be addressed.
Areas that bleed at the slightest contact, as well as wounds that do not heal, should also be checked by a specialist to minimize risks.
Risk factors beyond UV rays
Irresponsible exposure to sunlight or frequent use of tanning booths and lamps are, as we have seen, the main causes of skin cancer. However, they are not the only risk factors.
other causes that cannot be ignored.
- genetic predisposition.
- Radiotherapy treatments.
- An unbalanced diet also negatively affects the health of the skin, as well as its ability to defend itself and regenerate.
- Smoking is another high risk factor. Doing it on the beach, unprotected from the sun and at midday increases the danger even more.
- Direct contact with some highly aggressive chemical substances, such as arsenic, pitch, paraffin and some industrial oils.
- Skin injuries, inflammations or burns , especially if they are not well cared for.
- Sunstrokes , common in the summer, can go from being harmless to being a risk factor for skin cancer.
Early detection is key to help fight the disease . For this reason, the alarm signals that can alert us to a skin problem should always be attended to without delay and go to the doctor for a more in-depth review of the area.