Skin Cancer – Risk Factors and Protective Measures

People love going out and enjoying the sun, especially in the winter. However, research says that the number of incidences of skin cancer is increasing. In particular, the melanoma type of skin cancer has increased a lot among young women. Latest studies show that those who often use indoor tanning beds have a 74 percent increased risk of developing skin cancers, including melanoma.

Tanning beds are equipped with UVA radiating lamps which expose them to higher UVA than the sun exposure. This accelerates skin damage in them. Even getting tanned through sun exposure can cause skin damage. It is therefore high time that everyone, especially young people realize the dangers of getting tanned. Here are a few astounding statistics of skin cancer-

• In the U.S., each year more than 5.4 million incidences of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in over 3.3 million individuals.

• There are more new incidences of skin cancer each year than the combined incidence of lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers.

• More people have suffered from skin cancer over the past three decades than all other cancers combined.

• In the course of a lifetime, 1 in every 5 Americans develop skin cancer.

• Some 40 to 50 % of Americans who live till 65 years, will at least once have either squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma.

• Over 4 million incidences of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) occur in the U.S. each year, making it the most common type of skin cancer.

• The second most common type of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Over one million incidences of it occur each year in the U.S.

• The risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma is 100 times higher in organ transplant patients than the general public.

• Over 58 million people in the U.S. are affected by actinic keratosis, the most common pre – cancer.

• UV radiation from the sun is the causative factor of approximately 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers.

• Each year, $8.1 billion is spent in the U.S. towards treating skin cancers, of which $3.3 billion goes towards melanoma treatment and about $4.8 billion for non-melanoma treatment.

The statistics is definitely jaw dropping, but the good news is that there is a higher awareness among the public about monitoring their skin and visiting their doctor upon noticing any suspicious changes. This enables the early detection and effective treatment of many incidences of skin cancers.

Things to bear in mind about skin cancer:

• Know your risk factors: Fair skin, weak immune system, excessive exposure to sun, precancerous skin conditions and family history of skin cancer increase your risk of acquiring skin cancer.

• Start safeguard your skin: You can protect your skin from sun’s exposure by wearing protective clothing (sunglasses, full-hand tops, gloves and hat) and applying sunscreen (with an SPF factor equal to or above 30).

• Avoid sun exposure: You can go for your daily walk in the evening, walk in the shade during the day time, use an umbrella while going out in the sun, etc.

• Doctor checkup: Get your skin examined by a dermatologist.

• Observe your skin: Make it a point to thoroughly look at your skin on a regular basis. Check for skin discolorations, new moles, changing moles, irregular borders, scaling or bleeding.

• Check the non-exposed sites as well: For, skin cancer can affect even your genital skin or the skin between your feel.
Apply these protective measures to keep away skin cancer!

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