Skin Cancer is among the most common types of Cancers. It can be fatal, of course, but one of the key things to know is that early detection is fundamental. So in order to reduce potential risks, we think awareness is the previous vital step. Through awareness on what can and can not cause cancer, and how to prevent it, you can save yourself or a loved one a lot of physical and psychological suffering.
That’s why we think that is really important to combat all the myths created around these diseases, explain what’s actually true and all in all help reduce the amount of people affected by this illness. In this post we’re going to make a list about what is believed to be the truth and debunk the myths through a brief explanation below. Let’s start
- Tanning beds are safer than the sun:
Devices like tanning beds and sun lamps can emit higher amounts of ultraviolet radiation than the sun, including both UVA and UVB radiation. UV radiation of any type increases your cancer risk, and the more you get, the higher your risk. Exposure to the ultraviolet light from tanning beds can impact the skin in a variety of ways – including wrinkles, sun spots or freckles. This exposure can lead to skin cancer. The use of tanning beds and sun lamps is hazardous because the UV radiation they deliver can damage your skin. Dermatologists highly recommend not using tanning beds and sun lamps. There is growing evidence they may increase your risk of developing melanoma. “One visit to an indoor tanning bed before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, by more than 50 percent,” says Joslyn M. Albright, MD. If you are seeking a tanned appearance, consider sunless tanning products.
- You don’t need to wear sunscreen in the winter or on a cloudy day.
It is a common myth that you can’t get sunburned on a cloudy day; this is simply not the case. Even under cloud cover, it is possible for the sun to harm your skin and eyes and cause long-term damage. An overcast day is no protection. “UV rays can stream right through the clouds,” explains Dr. Albright. In fact, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation, a full 80 percent of UV rays can make it through cloud cover. If you’re vain about your skin, whether it’s overcast or sunny, make sure to slather up any exposed areas when you go outside.
- I don’t need sun protection because I rarely go outdoors for extended periods of time
FALSEDermatologists find that brief sun exposures throughout the year can add up to significant damage for people with fair skin. These brief moments can include driving with the sunroof open or walking around outdoor shopping centers during peak sun hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. – which exposes your skin to damaging UV rays.
These cumulative, everyday exposures are linked to squamous cell cancer. Limiting sun exposure is an important measure to take as both direct and indirect UV rays damage the skin and can lead to skin cancer. Window film provides protection by limiting harmful UV rays whether at home, work or on the road. Windows block UVB rays from burning your skin, but they do nothing to reduce UVAs, those tricky rays associated with melanoma. While it’s true you won’t get a sunburn while sitting indoors, UVA rays can filter through window glass, including skylights, and car windows.
- Dark-skinned people don’t get skin cancer.
No one is immune to skin cancer. People of all skin colors, including people who are African-American, Hispanic and Asian, can develop skin cancer. Everyone should still take action to protect their skin and eyes from overexposure to the sun as they can still develop malignancies and suffer all forms of UV damage. In addition, cases of skin cancer in people with darker skin are often not detected until later stages, when it is more dangerous.
- The higher the SPF the better. Bonus: I use sun protection everyday so I’m not at risk
SPF protection doesn’t increase proportionately with the designated SPF number. SPF 30 absorbs 97% of the sun’s burning UV rays, while SPF 50 absorbs just slightly more – 98%. And, SPF 100 absorbs 99%. So, choose a sunscreen with at least an SPF 30.Your best protection is to stay out of the sun, especially between the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and to wear protective clothing if you have to be in the sun.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying a thick layer of a broad spectrum sunscreen (that is, one that protects against both UVA and UVB light) of at least SPF 30 before going outside, even on cloudy or cool days. Sunscreen should be reapplied after two hours in the sun or after swimming, sweating or using a towel.
Sunscreens with an SPF higher than 50 do not provide any additional protection from UVB radiation. They may also not provide enough screening for UVA radiation.” That’s because the FDA hasn’t approved sunscreen ingredients which can protect against UVA and UVB rays at those higher SPF numbers. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens, products with SPF 50 or above simply don’t do a great job at blocking UVA rays. Those are the ones most associated with malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Save your money and stay in the 30-50 SPF range.
Your sunscreen protection may be lower than the labeled protection level if you:
- Do not apply enough sunscreen (one ounce or a shot glass-sized amount for your body and one tablespoon for your face).
- Apply it incorrectly.
- Do not reapply it every two hours.
When you participate in moderate outdoor activities such as jogging or are outside on a very hot day, the heat from your activity and surroundings can increase the sensitivity of your skin. Because the protection afforded by sunscreen begins to wear off after lengthy exposure to the sun, and sunscreen rubs off with normal activity, it needs to be reapplied at least every two hours.
As we said at the start of this post, we think awareness is fundamental. Tell your friends and family what you have learnt about skin cancer and the myths surrounding it. It may be of more help that you can imagine.
If you find sores that haven’t healed or moles that are changing size, shape, or color getting checked by a Doctor is the safest choice. Early prevention and awareness save lives!