Skin cancer is among the most prevalent forms of cancer in the U.S. with more than 65,000 Americans diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2011. Of those with the condition, 9,128 died on the same year.
Despite the growing incidence of the disease, a number of myths still surround it hampering people's ability to protect themselves from the condition.
For one, many people associate skin cancer with the exposure to the sun. While this is relatively correct, there also arises the notion that the use of tanning bed is a safer option to tan. Tanning beds, unfortunately, also produce ultraviolet rays that are harmful to the skin. These devices may even be more dangerous compared with the sun because they primarily produce UVA radiation that gets deeper into the skin.
Experts likewise advise using sunscreen but this does not mean that people who use sunscreen can stay under the sun for long periods of time. The protective effects of sunscreen wane and do not last long. To determine how many minutes a sunscreen provides protection, simply multiply the SPF by 10. Seemingly cool and dimmer days likewise do not mean that there is no exposure to the harmful UV rays so it pays to use skin protection all throughout the year not only when swimming in beaches.
To prevent skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the use of sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher but this alone is not enough to prevent skin cancer. It is also important to seek the shade particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It also helps to cover up the body with clothing that can provide protection from the harmful rays of the sun including UV-blocking sunglasses and broad-brimmed hat. Monitoring the health of the skin is also advised so seeing a doctor annually for a skin exam is recommended.
Tanning is associated with skin cancer so tanning should be avoided as much as possible. Experts likewise advise against the use of UV tanning beds. For those who still go for tanned skin though, it is advised to apply a sun protection before tanning. You won't get a tan though while wearing a sunblock so opt for a sunscreen and this should reapplied every two hours of after going to the water. Tanning oil also helps accelerate the tanning process but it is best to use tanning oils that offer sun protection.
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