Skin cancer prevention & Treatment | Melanoma | skin specialist

Skin Cancer Prevention

The skin is the body's largest organ. More than just prodigious in size, the skin is incredibly important in function. It protects against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. It helps control body temperature and stores water, fat, and vitamin D.


Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that has become common in recent years. There are three common types - melanoma ('black skin cancer'), basal cell carcinoma, and spinalioma. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer as unlike others, it forms metastases in other organs. The good news? Skin cancer can mostly be cured when it is found and treated early. Although one may not be able to prevent skin cancer completely, there are steps that could be taken to help reduce the risk of getting it. Everyone is at risk for developing skin cancer and should always take preventative measures. Let's dive into the details.


There are many factors that come into play when determining what level of risk an individual has. Routine skin cancer screenings are crucial if you have:



  • A family history of skin cancer

  • Regular sun exposure

  • Fair skin

  • Blonde hair, light eye color


People with light skin are more likely to experience skin damage/sunburn from UV rays, which increases the risk of skin cancer.


Stay out of the sun


Limit sun exposure, especially from 10 am to 4 pm, when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense. Seek shade if you are outdoors. Keep newborn babies out of the sun - Sunscreens should only be used on babies over the age of six months. Apply sunscreen for older children before they go out to play. Consult your pediatrician before using any sunscreen on your baby.


Wear SPF


Dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen liberally. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors. By applying sunscreen each day, you cut your risk of contracting skin cancers in half. Sunscreen helps prevent discoloration and dark spots from sun damage, helping you maintain an even skin tone. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun. Make sure you reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Don't forget to use a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips.


Slide on some sunglasses


Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats help protect most of your face.


Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen


UVA rays have longer wavelengths that cause burns and skin cancers. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths that can cause burns, age spots, and wrinkles. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.


Cover-Up


Wear cover-up clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Look for clothes made with breathable, lightweight fabric so you can stay cool.


Watch your diet


A diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, A, and E; beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyphenols can help prevent skin cancer.


Follow the ABCDEs


Do you know your ABCDEs. You should consult with a dermatologist if your moles have the following symptoms of melanoma:



  • Asymmetry - Half of the mole is different from the other half.

  • Borders – Check if any moles irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined.

  • Color – Check for varying colors. Sometimes moles turn white, brown, red, or blue.

  • Diameters – Is the mole the size of a pencil eraser or larger?

  • Evolving – Has the mole/ lesion changed in size, shape, or color?


Examine Your Skin


We'll give some basic instructions for conducting a monthly skin cancer self-screening:


What you'll need: A full-length mirror, a hand-held mirror, a chair or stool, and a partner or spouse to help, if possible.


When to perform the checks: Once a month


What to do: Choose a place with plenty of light. Starting with the top of your head, look for irregular or raised spots, spots that have changed or grown since your last examination, or any new spots.


What about people who have already spent years in the sun


It's true that previous sunburns increase the risk that's already been done. However, if you are more careful now, you can prevent further damage. You will be less likely to encounter the "final straw" that turns damaged skin cells into cancerous ones. Just focus on keeping your skin healthy now, and check your skin regularly so that if cancer turns up, you can catch it early when it's far easier to treat.


If you notice any new spots, especially ones that sound like ones described above, have it checked out by the doctor. Consult a dermatologist for an evaluation of any suspicious moles or lesions on your skin as soon as possible. Thinking of scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist? We, at Prashanth Hospitals, have some of the best dermatologists in Chennai. Get help from the highly experienced skin specialists in Chennai who provide comprehensive skin treatments.