Skin cancer, one of the most common types of cancer is usually caused by unsafe exposure to sunlight, and begins in the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis. Depending on the cells it developes from, there are three main types of skin cancer:
According to World Health Organization, the incidence of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers is constantly increasing, with over 2 million patients for non-melanoma and 132,000 for melanoma cancer diagnosed each year. One of the causes: the depleted ozone levels which cause the atmosphere to lose more and more of its UV radiation filter.
Statistically speaking, melanoma is the cause of 1% of skin cancers, being most common in women ages 20-39, and is responsible for 5,000 deaths, out of 18,000 new patients diagnosed each year in Europe (Melanoma Molecular Map Project – MMMP). Last year, Romania has had over 1,000 cases of melanoma which resulted in 364 deaths, says the Romanian Society of Dermato Oncology.
In Romania, the incidence rate for melanoma is 4,7 for men and 4,4 for women, for every 100,000 people. Although easily treatable, the lack of education amongst Romanians concerning skin cancer prevention has resulted in the lowest survival rate in Europe – 5 years. As the Romanian Society of Aesthetic Medicine and Cosmetic and Surgical Dermatology stated, this rate is due to the late diagnosis of the disease.
Can skin cancer be prevented?
Non-melanoma or melanoma, skin cancers can be easily treated when diagnosed during the early stage, when the tumour has not yet spread. However, doctors say, the best treatment you can get is prevention. As “cliché”as it may sound, the best ways of protecting your skin from developing such tumors is to avoid sun and always use sunscreen with high SPF, even during rainy days.
However, most people don’t pay as much attention to these simple advices. According to the British publication Express, 61% of men are not concerned with applying sun cream when they are exposed to sunlight, versus 54% of the women who claim the same thing.
Here’s what you should do in order to prevent skin cancers of all type:
How do I protect my children from the sun?
Sun safety for kids isn’t that much different. However, their skin absorbs the harmful UV rays a lot easier whenever they are outdoors, so they need to be protected throughrout the entire day.
Protect their face and body with sunscreen with high SPF whenever they go out, cover them up with clothes that can provide protection from the sun, always use sunglasses to protect their eyes, in order to prevent later illnesses.
Also, don’t forget to use a hat, always seek shade from the powerful sun rays and don’t expose them during lunch hours.
How can I get tan during summer, but still protect my skin?
First of all, you should know that any type of tanning will damage your skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. However, using tanning beds is one of the worst ideas, being able to increase the risk for melanoma by 75%, says the Skin Cancer Foundation.
There is no healthy way of getting a tan, after all, but if you do wish to do it, dermatologists often recommend using self-tanning products instead of direct exposure to sunlight.
How will I get my dose of vitamin D, if I can’t stay in the sun?
Vitamin D is, indeed, essential for bone health, but spending time in the sun isn’t safe and can’t guarantee our body actually absorbs the vitamin. There are a lot of other healthy sources of vitamin D, which can help reduce your time in the burning sun.
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, portobello mushrooms or egg yolks are great sources of vitamin D that you can introduce in your diet. Besides, there are plenty Vitamin D supplements can help you get your proper daily dose without dealing with the risk of skin cancer.
How do I know when I should see a doctor, for a proper diagnose?
Every type of skin cancer starts with small changes on your skin – new growths, lesions, moles that aren’t cancerous yet, but can develop to a form of cancer. Scaly patches or persistent roughness of the skin, moles that seem to change their shape or new moles that multiply are usually the most common signs of cancer.
A regular check-up is mandatory at least once every six months, considering that an experienced doctor can spot signs of skin cancer a lot earlier than ourselves. A skin biopsy is the only certain way of identifiying cancer cells. It seems a bit scary, but it’s actually a very simple procedure involving a tissue harvesting and its examination under a microscope.
If by any chance you suspect a possible diagnose, the skin biopsy is the only method of confirming it, so don’t avoid going to your dermatologist as soon as your suspicions start – the earlier you get te diagnose, the easier the disease can be treated.
The price of a skin biopsy can start at 200 lei, but the costs can grow significantly when you seek a second opinion or are in the search of the the right doctor.
You can find out more about private health insurance: https://www.medihelp-assistance.com/.