Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. While there are many different types of skin cancer, they all have one thing in common: they are caused by damage to the skin cells.
Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells, leading to skin cancer. However, other things can cause damage to DNA in skin cells and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Too much sun can harm people’s health, but did you know that a few minutes of unprotected sun exposure can increase your risk of developing skin cancer? Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer. UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells, leading to skin cancer. Additionally, certain hours of the day have higher levels of UV radiation, such as midday (10 am-4 pm). Therefore, limiting exposure to the sun during these times is vital and take precautions such as wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.
Like the sun, tanning beds emit UV radiation that can damage the DNA in your skin cells and lead to skin cancer. People who use tanning beds are two to three times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma than people who don’t use them.
Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer that uses high-energy waves to kill cancer cells. While it is an effective treatment for many types of cancer, it can also damage healthy cells, including those in the skin. This damage can lead to a second form of cancer called radiation dermatitis.
Some chemicals can damage DNA and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Arsenic, for example, is a known human carcinogen linked to an increased risk of developing basal and squamous cell carcinoma.
People with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of developing infections, which can lead to skin cancer. For example, people with HIV/AIDS have a higher risk of developing Kaposi sarcoma, a type of skin cancer caused by a virus.
While many different things can cause damage to DNA in skin cells and lead to skin cancer, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds is still the leading cause. Skin cancer might be common, but there are ways to prevent it. Here are ways you can do that.
Avoid the Sun
Vitamin D is something your skin needs, but as stated earlier, too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Thankfully, there are ways you can prevent it. Here are the three ways you can avoid the sun while on the road.
Tinted Car Windows
It’s good to have tinted windows if you plan to be on the road for a while. A professional auto window tinting service can choose the right tint for your car that will block out the UV rays from the sun. This is great if you’re planning a road trip or if your livelihood requires you to drive your car a lot. You can also choose to tint your windows at home.
Sun Protective Clothing
There are clothing options available that can protect you from UV rays, such as long-sleeve shirts and pants made of a tightly woven fabric or unique sun-protective clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating.
Don’t underestimate the power of an umbrella. It’s not just for rain; it can also provide shade to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays outdoors.
Cover Up With Sunscreen
Sunscreen isn’t just for going to the beach; it should be used every day, exceptionally if you’ll be outdoors for extended periods. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and apply it to all exposed areas of your skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Check Your Skin
Perform regular self-checks for any new or suspicious moles on your skin, and make sure to see a doctor if you notice anything unusual. It’s also essential to have regular check-ups with a dermatologist to detect any potential skin cancer early on.
Skin cancer can also occur on dry, cracked skin, so it’s essential to keep your skin moisturized. Use a moisturizer with SPF for additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Skin cancer might be the most common type, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Taking precautions and being aware of your risks can significantly reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. So stay safe in the sun!