Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, but is also one of the most easily avoided. To prevent skin cancer, observe the following five rules:
1. Use Sunscreen
Even on cloudy days, sunscreen is a must for those who spend time outdoors, especially if you are outdoors between the peak hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. To most effectively prevent skin cancer, sunscreen should be used in both winter and summer months and even water-proof sunscreen should be reapplied often. Whether your skin is naturally light or naturally dark, sunscreen is an absolute necessity.
2. Avoid Tanning Beds
In our society, tanned skin gives off the appearance of health. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both sunburns and suntans are signs of damaged skin and could lead to a higher probability of skin cancer. To achieve darker skin without the risk of a tanning bed, consider using self-tanning sprays or lotions that gradually darken skin. With the advancements in self-tanning technology, streaking is much less likely than it was in the past. If you are unsure of your own ability in applying self-tanner, many spas and salons offer tanning treatments or spray-tan booths. Though the self-tanner will have to be reapplied about once a week, it is a successful method of accomplishing the appearance of a sun-darkened glow while preventing skin cancer.
3. Perform Regular Skin Exams
To prevent the severity of skin cancer, men and women of all skin types should perform a spot check once each month. You should observe any moles or skin abnormalities, looking for signs of possible cancer. Some of these may include moles that change color or shape, growths that bleed, and moles or growths that are particularly large or asymmetrical. Any concern that is detected by a self exam should be immediately brought to the attention of a physician.
4. Eat Healthy
To prevent skin cancer as well as other types of cancers, it is recommended to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to help the body to naturally fight free radicals that can cause disease within the body. Some foods that are high in antioxidants include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and spices including cinnamon, oregano, and cloves. Foods richest in antioxidants are red kidney beans, pinto beans, and blueberries. It is also wise to take a daily multivitamin that is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are both thought to aid in lowering the risks associated with sun exposure.
5. Reduce Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption
As with eating well, reducing or removing the presence of alcohol and tobacco can improve overall health along with preventing skin cancer. Studies have shown a correlation between alcohol use and malignant melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, smokers are three times more likely than non-smokers to develop squamous cell carcinoma.