Early detection of skin cancer
It is important to regularly check your skin for any changes. This will help you learn what is normal for your skin and notice when something may be wrong. Consult your doctor if you notice any changes on your skin.
How to check your skin?
Check your skin in a well-lit room. Use a mirror to examine your entire body. Raise your arms and look at the right and left sides of your body in the mirror. Check the areas under your arms and both sides of your arms. Look at your hands, each finger, in between fingers, and nails. Look at your back, front, and sides of your legs. Check the top and soles of your feet, toenails, and spaces between your toes. Also, check the genital area and the area between the buttocks.Look at your face, neck, scalp, and hairline. Use a handheld mirror and a full-length mirror along with a comb to check your scalp. Have someone you trust help you check areas that are difficult to see.
What to look for?
Skin cancer usually starts as an abnormal area or changes on any area of the skin. Look for and note any changes, including:- A sore that does not heal or comes back after healing;- A mole or spot that oozes, bleeds, or forms a crust;- A change in the color, size, or shape of a mole;- A bump or area that itches or hurts;- Rough or scaly red patches;- Small, smooth, shiny bumps with a pearl-like or pink, red, or white color;- Pale, white or yellow flat areas resembling scars;- Raised bumps that are indented in the center.
What to do if you find changes on your skin?
Inform your doctor as soon as possible if you have noticed any changes on your skin. Your doctor will conduct a skin examination to check the specific area and detect any signs of skin cancer. You may be referred to a specialist, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Your doctor may perform a skin biopsy to check for the presence of cancer.
Tanning outdoors or indoors can have dangerous consequences. Although it is often visually associated with the idea of "good health," the glow of a tan is the exact opposite - it indicates damage to your skin's DNA. Tanning damages skin cells and accelerates visible signs of aging. Worst of all, tanning can lead to skin cancer.
Fact: There is no such thing as safe or healthy tanning. Tanning increases the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Your best defense is to avoid tanning altogether.
The intensity of the sun varies by season, time of day, and geographical location. A high UV index means that unprotected skin will burn faster or more severely. Be cautious, especially when the sun is strongest. But even when the index is low, the risk remains. Protect yourself every day.
You can get "sunburned" on a cloudy day, so be careful even when the sun isn't shining. Up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate through clouds.
For people with fair skin, especially those with a genetic predisposition, sunburns play a clear role in the development of melanoma. Studies show that UV rays that damage the skin can also alter a gene that suppresses tumors, giving damaged cells less chance to recover before growing into cancer.
People who work or play sports outdoors have a higher risk of frequent sunburns, which can lead to skin cancer.
Even one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma in the future.
Skin damage accumulates over time, starting from the first sunburn.
Light sensitivity is an increased sensitivity of the skin or an unusual reaction when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or a tanning bed. You can become light sensitive due to prescription or over-the-counter medications, a health condition or genetic disorder, or even from using certain types of skincare products.
Regardless of your skin type, if you develop light sensitivity, you may be particularly prone to persistent skin damage and skin cancer from even limited exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Understanding what light sensitivity is and why it occurs can help you protect your skin health with extra caution.
There are six types of skin, ranging from very light (Type 1) to very dark (Type 6), according to the scientific classification known as the Fitzpatrick skin type scale. Developed in 1975 by a Harvard Medical School physician, the system classifies skin type based on the amount of skin pigment and skin reaction to sun exposure. Determining your skin type can help predict your overall risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
Your skin type is a primary risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma. And while it's true that people with lighter skin tones are more prone to sunburns, sun damage, and skin cancer, UV radiation exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer even if you tan and don't burn. That's why it makes sense to know the skin you're in.