The best way to get enough vitamin D is by exposing your skin to the sun for 10-30 minutes every day. But if you’re planning on spending more time outdoors, you’ll want to protect yourself with sunscreen.
That’s because sunlight carries two types of rays, UVA and UVB, and both can cause skin cancer.
UVB causes surface sunburns. And UVA penetrates deep into your skin, causing wrinkles and dark spots.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.
The good news is, when skin cancer is detected early on, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent.
Today, we talk about the top symptoms of skin cancer you’ll want to look out for.
Watch this video till the end to learn about one symptom in particular that’s often overlooked.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
First, Let’s Look At Where Skin Cancer Can Develop On The Body.
Skin cancer most often occurs on the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands. It is also common on the legs, especially for women.
It can also occur in areas that aren’t directly exposed to daylight, like your palms, beneath your fingernails or toenails, and your genital area.
There are three main types of skin cancer. They are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas usually occur on sun-exposed parts of the body.
Melanoma can develop on parts of the body that rarely see light.
Next, Learn About The ABCDE Rule To Detect Potential Cancerous Growths.
Irregular moles are one of the most common signs of skin cancer.
One simple way to check your moles and determine if its skin cancer early on is to use the ABCDE rule.
“A” stands for asymmetry. Normal moles or freckles have two symmetrical halves. Look for moles that are asymmetrical, or uneven.
“B” stands for border. Be on the lookout for irregular or jagged borders on moles.
“C” is for color. Normal moles and spots are usually one color. A mole that has more than one color should be considered suspicious.
“D” is for diameter. Moles that are larger than 6mm or a pencil eraser may be a sign of melanoma.
And “E” is for evolution. Moles that change in size, appearance, and texture, or cause new symptoms like itching, pain, or bleeding, can be a sign of cancerous or pre-cancerous growth.
Next, Did You Know Skin Cancer Can Look Like A Pimple?
Very few people know about this, but skin cancer can manifest as a pimple-like bump on the skin, rather than a mole.
When that happens, people are quick to ignore it. While it may look like a harmless pimple, scar, or sore, basal cell carcinoma can grow slowly.
So, how can you determine if a newly noticed bump on your skin is simply an annoying pimple, or something more serious?
A surefire way to tell the difference between a pimple and skin cancer is whether the bump goes away on its own.
The average pimple stays on the skin for a week and subsides after popping it. But it’s a different story if it’s skin cancer, which requires professional treatment to remove.
Next, Did You Know Skin Cancer Doesn’t Always Manifest On The Skin?
Since people are so familiar with moles as a symptom of skin cancer, they may ignore other warning signs.
Sometimes, the first sign of skin cancer is a rough area of red or brown skin that resembles a scab or wart.
It’s also important to know that while skin cancer symptoms can occur externally, certain warning signs don’t manifest on the skin at all.
For example, melanoma near the lungs may lead to shortness of breath, while melanoma on the head can cause headaches and even affect your eyesight.
Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early, but it can be deadly if left untreated.
Next, How Can You Do a Skin Self-Exam?
You don’t need x-rays or blood tests to find skin cancer early, just your eyes and a mirror.
If you have a weakened immune system, have had skin cancer in the past or have a strong family history of skin cancer, doing a skin self-exam once a month could make a big difference.
A skin self-exam is best done in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. You can use a hand-held mirror to look at areas that are hard to see, such as the backs of your thighs.
A spouse, partner, or close friend or family member may help you with these exams, especially for those hard-to-see areas like your back or scalp.
The best time to do a skin self-exam is after a bath or shower. Check any moles, blemishes, or birthmarks from the top of your head to your toes.
If you’re looking at your skin and see anything that concerns you, especially something that has just appeared or has changed recently, be sure to have it checked by a doctor.
Next, How Can You Prevent Skin Cancer?
Did you know that getting a sunburn just once every two years is enough to triple your risk of getting melanoma skin cancer?
Here’s a list of things you can do to reduce your exposure to ultraviolet rays to prevent skin cancer:
Limit exposure to the sun between 10 am to 4 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Seek shade whenever possible.
Avoid tanning or the use of UV tanning beds.
Cover up with clothing and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when you’re planning on spending the day out. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.
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And now, over to you: What are you doing to protect your skin from UV rays? What kind of sunscreen do you use when you go outdoors?
Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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