What is it about the sun that makes it so irresistible to us? Almost every picturesque vacation includes a beach on a tropical island where one can soak up some sun. Enjoying some downtime in the sunshine seems like such luxury these days that we bask in the sun every opportunity we get. During these moments, though, we often forget that our love affair with the sun can be a one-way thing.
Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin cancer – and the most common source of UV is the sun. While a majority of skin cancer is non-life threatening, it’s still one of the most common forms of cancer.
Here are other facts about skin cancer that you should know:
- An estimated 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer
- There are three common types of skin cancer namely basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. Out of the three, melanoma is the most dangerous and BCC is the most common.
- Anyone can develop skin cancer but it’s more common among fair-skinned people because they lack the protective pigmentation called melatonin.
- Men are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer than women
As scary as these facts might be, there are treatments for skin cancer which are effective, if the condition is caught on time. There’s surgical excision, an operative procedure to cut out the cancerous growth. There’s also electrodesiccation and curettage which is a minimally invasive procedure to remove the cancer. And the last is the Mohs micrographic surgery, which is only used for cancers in critical locations.
These facts don’t have to dampen your fun in the sun though. You can take the necessary precautions to avoid developing skin cancer. If you’re going out, remember to put some sunscreen on. Go for SPF 30 or higher. Avoid soaking in the rays between 10 AM and 2 PM, which is when the sun is at its hottest. Avoid tanning beds. Last but not least, examine yourself regularly. The best defense to cancer of any sort is early detection.