Today, skin cancer accounts for the largest number of cancer cases in humans. There are over 1 million new cases each year. In addition, cancer is more prevalent each year, creating a serious concern amongst healthcare providers and consumers. The effects of time on the environment have created an effect of thinning the protective ozone layer, so that we receive the more strong ultra violet radiation, or UV rays at a higher rate. This is only going to continue to increase in strength until we find ways to stop the depletion of the ozone layer.
It has been confirmed by the U.S. National Institute of Health that exposure to UV rays is the main cause of basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. This cancer form represents over 90% of the skin cancer cases in the U.S. The people most likely to get this disease have light-colored or fair skin, have had excessive sun exposure over a number of years, and are older than 50 years of age. This does not mean that the damaging sun exposure occurred later in life, but that is when it typically converts to cancer. The good news is that this cancer type normally does not spread; in some rare cases, the cancer can develop where there has been little or no sun exposure: chest, back, arms, legs and scalp. However, it is most typically found on the hands and face.
Please be advised that where you live can also play a part in your risk of getting this cancer. If you live in a location where the sun is very strong you are more likely to develop skin cancer. For example, locations nearer the equator, like Australia, and South Africa, are known to have some of the highest rates worldwide, while in the United States, the southern states have a higher rate than the northern states.
What do I do to prevent getting skin cancer in my lifetime? For starters, note that your awareness of your body is key. You need to scan your body, or have a family member help you look for any signs of change in the skin pigment, or a sore that won’t heal or is growing. Skin cancer is always visible and causes changes in the skin. Please contact me to get a free consultation on lifestyle changes that you can implement to help stay healthy and lower the risk of disease.