According to the 2016 CANCER FACTS & FIGURES REPORT by the American Cancer Society, an estimated 76,380 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S in 2016 and an estimated 10,130 people will die of it this year. Although today it is well known that our skin should be protected from the sun with the daily use of a sunscreen, it can be neglected without optimal protection if the sunscreen is not used correctly optimally. In fact, there have been reports that sunscreen causes cancer, but this is misleading because the reason behind this information is that they are finding that people are not wearing the right kind of sunscreen, reapplying sunscreen often enough, and having a false sense of security from using sunscreen and not using common sense approach to sun protection.
At KayaKalp Aesthetics our doctors have been treating patients with skin cancer for many years and helping our patients to learn about proper skin care and to know the facts about sun protection. Skin cancers can form even with and after use of sunscreens due to previous UV exposure. But, sunscreens will reduce the risk of additional UV damage. Use and reapply sunscreen daily, even under shade and on a cloudy day. It is also important to use sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxide as the active ingredients are better and they should be applied every 2 hours. The sunscreen cannot be left in a car or direct heat since that breaks down the sun protective factors.
Other Sun Safety Tips
- Wear sunglasses- Reduces sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage.
- Wear sun protective clothing- reduces the amount of radiation reaching the skin
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat- protects areas prone to sun overexposure i.e. eyes, ears, face and the back of neck
- Use sunscreen before you go out, and reapply every two hours. (check with KayaKalp to learn about quality sunscreens.)
- Water resistant sunscreens will come off when you towel off sweat or water.
- Be aware- children under six months of age should never have sunscreen applied to their skin; protect by sun avoidance
- Avoid midday sun when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.
- Pay attention to the UV Index- indicates the degree of caution to be taken when outdoors and provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to the sun and predicts exposure levels on a scale of 0 to10+.
Low risk = 0
In addition to learning sun safety tips, it is also important that people check their skin daily for changes. If skin cancer is detected before it spreads and is treated properly there is a high cure rate. Some basic signs and symptoms of skin cancer to watch for is an unusual mole. Most normal moles are evenly colored with one color of brown, tan or black. It can be flat or raised and shaped in a circle or oval. The most important warning sign of skin cancer is a new spot on the skin or an existing spot that is changing in size, shape, or color. A common rule to remember from the American Cancer Society is the ABCDE rule.
- A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
- B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
- C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
- D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
- E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
Finally, if you are concerned about an unusual mole or want to learn more about skin care and sun protection please contact our office at 978-927-6556 to schedule a consult or email our doctor at email@example.com .