PLAYING IT SAFE WHEN IT COMES TO SKIN CANCER
Hi everyone – It’s #WELLNESS WEDNESDAY and SKIN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. So, let’s continue our discussion about the most common cancer in the world.
Indeed, skin cancer is one of the three cancers with which I have been diagnosed over the years. Fortunately, my cancers were caught early and were treated successfully. This, of course, is key. The earlier we catch any cancer, the better our chances are for a full recovery.
But, in order to catch cancer early we need to have a diligent prevention program. AND, in order to do that we need to understand what our personal risks are for the disease.
So, today will be devoted to outlining –
9 MAJOR RISK FACTORS FOR SKIN CANCER:
- HEREDITY. If your family has a history of skin cancer, your risk for the disease is greater.
- PERSONAL HISTORY. If you have had skin cancer before, your chances of developing it again are greater.
- SKIN COLOR. People of all skin colors are at risk, but those with lighter skin are at a greater risk for developing skin cancer.
- OUTDOOR ACTIVITY. Exposure to the sun through your occupation or your hobbies increases your risk for this disease.
- SENSITIVE SKIN. If you have skin that reddens easily, freckles, burns or becomes painful in the sun, your risk for skin cancer is greater.
- SUNBURNS. If you have a history of sunburns – especially those that occurred early in your life – your risk for the disease increases.
- INDOOR TANNING. If you have a history of using indoor tanning facilities or sun lamps your risk for skin cancer is greater.
- EYE AND HAIR COLOR. Those with red or blond hair – and those with blue or green eyes – have an increased risk for the disease.
- MOLES AND BIRTHMARKS. Similar to freckles, those with numerous moles – and certain types of moles – run a greater risk for skin cancer. Those with dark birthmarks also run a greater risk.
So, we know that both tanning and burning of the skin increases our risk for skin cancer. You see, when harmful UV rays reach and penetrate the skin – the skin tries to protect itself.
It does this by producing more melanin. Melanin is the pigment that colors our skin. This means that even an often called “healthy tan” is really just our skin’s response to injury. When our skin becomes damaged or injured by UV rays it sends a signal to our skin cells to produce more melanin — and it’s this protective response that results in a tan.
Knowing this, there are 6 DIFFERENT TYPES OF SKIN categorized by their reaction to the sun and UV rays. From the most sensitive skin to the least, here they are:
- Always burns, never tans.
- Burns easily, tans minimally.
- Burns moderately, tans gradually to light brown.
- Burns minimally, tans well to moderately brown.
- Rarely burns, tans easily to dark brown.
- Never burns, dark pigmentation.
Clearly, those with skin types 1 and 2 are at the greatest risk for developing all skin cancers, including basel cell, squamous cell and melanoma. Those with skin types 5 and 6 have the least risk.
Yet, always remember – EVERYONE is at risk for skin cancer. AND, skin cancer can even occur on parts of the body that rarely see the sun, including the skin between our toes and the soles of our feet 😊
Simple information, yes. But, so important in our fight against skin cancer. Remember, SMALL STEPS LEAD TO BIG CHANGES. And, INCH BY INCH IT’S A CINCH!
Thanks for joining me everyone. I hope to see you back here next week when we continue our discussion of SKIN CANCER AWARENESS and bring you more TIPS for your PROTECTION.
Until then, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .