The American Cancer Society has recently warned citizens to be aware of prolonged sun exposure because it might become a leading cause of skin cancer.
Based on the statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation, over 5.4 million people develop non-melanoma skin cancer annually in the US. The total number of skin cancer cases, including melanoma, makes up twice the number of combined diagnoses of colon, prostate, lung, and breast cancer.
In other words, one in five Americans develops some form of skin cancer over a lifetime. According to Dr. Ronald Alexander, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne radiologist, skin cancer is caused by a mutation consisting of cells which start to grow too much.
This growth usually manifests in the form of a mole or lump that becomes larger while it changes its color. He also stressed that people must be aware of the ultraviolet rays exposure because it is the leading cause of around 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancer cases.
Ultraviolet rays are divided into UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are more common and responsible for causing sunburns, whereas UVA rays have a long wavelength, so they penetrate the skin deeper increasing the risk of developing skin cancer.
Health officials from the American Cancer Society underlined that people must avoid sun exposure as much as possible this summer, in particular between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as they are the hottest hours of the day. Instead, seeking shade would be the best choice.
The agency has also started a campaign known as ‘Slip! Slop! Slap!’ to increase awareness among people, especially beachgoers. The three words are a reminder for everyone to wear a hat (slap), sunscreen (slop), and a shirt (slip).
Health officials recommend people to make an appointment to their doctors for a thorough investigation. They can also check their skin for signs of moles, lumps, sore parts of the skin that don’t heal, pain, tenderness, oozing or bleeding moles, itchy spots, and spread of pigment from the border to nearby skin.
Early diagnose is the best way to prevent any future complications. Even melanoma tumors that are spotted early can be safely removed without other consequences.
Also, the sun protection package includes a healthy SPF 30 sunscreen product with ‘broad spectrum’ label which should be applied at every two hours, after swimming, or excessive sweating. Sun exposure can also be avoided by wearing protective clothing including UV-blocking sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts.
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