Approximately 60,000 people in the UK contract skin cancer each year. It begins when process of cell division goes wrong in the skin and it starts to grow in a rapid, out of control way. This then leads to the formation of a cancerous tumour which usually resembles a blemish on the skin. Whilst this type of cancer is one of the most common it is also very preventable. In this article I am going to be discussing four things you can do to help prevent skin cancer.
1) AVOID PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO THE SUN:- Sunlight does have a number of benefits. It prompts the body to produce vitamin D and can also help you avoid seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the winter months. However, like all good things you can get too much. Prolonged exposure to sunlight exposes your body to ultraviolet (UV) light which ultimately damages the DNA in your skin cells and leads to skin cancer. Therefore, if you know that you are going to be out in the sun for an extended period make sure that shelter is available so that you can take regular breaks from the sunlight.
2) USE SUN CREAM:- As I mentioned above the reason that sunlight leads to skin cancer is that it contains UV light which damages your skin cells. Sun cream contains ingredients that block these UV rays and stop them from damaging your skin. Therefore, if you are out in the sun make sure you have sun cream with you. Ideally try and apply it to your skin 15 minutes before going out in the sun and make sure you re-apply it regularly.
3) WEAR SENSIBLE CLOTHING:- Clothing can offer you fantastic protection from the sunlight and the damaging UV rays. Whilst it is tempting to walk around wearing as little as possible when the sun is shining this puts you at an increased for skin cancer if you are out in the sun for a long period. Therefore, you need to make sure you have some clothing with you that can cover your body and perhaps a hat to protect your face as well. You don’t have to cover up all the time that you are in the sun but make sure you do not leave your skin exposed for extended periods.
4) DON’T USE SUNBEDS:- Sunbeds use concentrated UV rays so even though a session on a sunbed is relatively short it is potentially more dangerous than staying out in the sun for a long time. If you really want a tan then do it naturally by sunbathing with regular breaks in the shade and regular doses of sun cream. Alternatively, try the increasingly available range of tanning products that are out there. Tanning in the sun will expose your skin to less intense UV rays whilst using tanning products will mean you avoid UV rays completely. Both of these options are safer than being exposed to the high doses of UV rays that a sunbed provides.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article skin cancer is one of the most prominent cancers in the UK but also one of the most preventable. If you take the precautions listed above you should be able to protect your skin and minimise your chances of developing this type of cancer.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative, it is intended for general information only. Skin cancer is a very serious, life threatening condition and you should discuss any concerns, treatments or lifestyle changes fully with your doctor.
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