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Skin cancer – a summer disease.

Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Here are some of the most significant ways:

1. Cut back on the sun exposure:
• Try reducing your sun exposure between 11am and 4pm.
• This is when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
• Work your way up to a base tan.
• The worst thing you could do is to be fair skinned and want to absorb all of the sun for the entire summer.

2. Find the shade
Try not to go out in sun without an umbrella or hat.

3. Protect your eyes
• Radiation from the sun can damage cells in the structures of your eyes thereby causing the increase in risk of developing cataracts later in life.
• UV radiation leads to skin cancer on the eyelid or on the surface of the eye.
• This damage can be prevented by protecting your eyes with sunglasses.
• Use the ones that protect against 100% UVA and UVB rays.

4. Cloudy does not necessarily mean safety
• Up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, fog and mist.
• On a cloudy or overcast day, you can still get sun burnt.

5. Stay away from tanning beds and sunlamps
• Indoor tanners are more dangerous than natural sun rays
• These lights emit mostly UVA/UVB radiation up to 12 times as much as natural sunlight.
• This radiation causes premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.

7. Be disciplined with sunscreen – even if you’re not fair-skinned
• People with darker skin are less at risk for developing the disease than for those with lighter skin but the risk still exists for everyone.
• Protect and lather up all areas that are exposed with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
• Melanoma is highly curable when detected early.

How is basal cell carcinoma diagnosed?

• To make a proper diagnosis, doctors usually remove all or part of the growth by performing a biopsy.
• This usually involves taking a sample by injecting a local anesthesia.
• Then scraping a small piece of skin.
• This method is referred to as a shave biopsy.
• The skin that is removed is then examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

How is basal cell carcinoma treated?

• The doctor’s main goal is to remove or destroy the cancer completely with as small a scar as possible.
• The methods used to treat basal cell carcinomas include:
– Curettage and desiccation
– Surgical excision
– Radiation therapy
– Cryosurgery
– Mohs micrographic surgery
– Medical therapy using creams

How is basal cell carcinoma prevented?

Common sense preventive techniques include:
• limiting recreational sun exposure.
• Avoiding unprotected exposure to the sun.
• This is especially true during peak radiation times.
• Wearing broad-brimmed hats and tightly-woven protective clothing while outdoors.
• Regularly using a waterproof or water resistant sunscreen with UVA protection.
• UV protection should be SPF 30 or higher.
• Undergoing regular check-ups.
• Avoiding the use of tanning beds.

100 Questions & Answers about Melanoma & Other Skin Cancers Beating Melanoma Skin Cancer

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