The sunlight has gotten so intense that it could burn your skin and cause skin cancer. For this reason, Thai people have a risk to develop skin cancer too. Fortunately, skin cancer can be prevented and cured. The earlier you detect it, the more chance you have at getting rid of it. Let’s have a look at the signs of the disease.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and is not necessarily developed by excessive exposure to the sun. The signs indicating you may have this type of skin cancer include:
• a change in an existing mole
• a spread of dark spots of various colors, scaly (either bulging like a mole or flat like flecks), bleeding or scabbing
• a waxy, hard and dark nodule
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), the type of skin cancer which occurs most often on areas of the skin that are often exposed to the sun. But it does not usually penetrate deep into the deeper layers of the skin. The signs for this type of cancer are for instance:
• A bump of color similar to the skin, round or oval, bleeding and persisting
• A pink growth with indentation in the center
• A flat firm bump which be red, blue, brown, or black
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is similar to Basal Cell Carcinoma in the ways they develop and the signs the show but this type of cancer advances faster. The signs of this cancer include:
• A red, dome-like nodules that keeps growing and turn into crusted surfaces
• A flat bump that is bleeding and persisting
More than 90% of all skin cancer is caused by overexposure to sunlight. The skin usually repairs itself after exposure to the sun in which it stops the damage being done to the skin cells and sheds the burnt skin (which is why our skin peels after being in the sun). However, if this process doesn’t go smoothly, the damaged cells could multiply and become abnormal and the skin will be weakened from sun radiation.
The development of Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma is usually attributable to consistent intense sunlight exposure especially on the face which is the area most likely be exposed.
Melanoma, although not mainly caused by overexposure to sunlight, excess sunbathing or sunburn can contribute to the development of the disease. In this regard, it was reported that melanoma risk could increase by 2 times with multiple childhood blistering burns.
Who is at risk for melanoma? The ones who have:
• light skin, especially Caucasians
• red hair
• blonde hair and blue eyes
• albinism (skin pigmentation disorder)
• a lot of moles or freckles
• repeated contact with irritating chemical substance, radioactive substance, pesticides or other carcinogens without protection
Skin cancer can be treated if diagnosed before metastasis. But it is best to prevent it from developing by protecting your skin from excessive sunlight exposure. You can put on sunscreen or enough clothe to cover your skin when going out in the sun. Always notice abnormality of the skin because if skin cancer, especially melanoma, advances it can spread to internal organs making it more difficult to treat.
• Food rich in antioxidants, vitamin A (betacarotene), vitamin C and vitamin E can reduce the damage to skin cells especially when in combination with zinc and selenium
• Essential fatty acid must be taken because it cannot be synthesized by human body. This type of fatty acid is good for health and skin and it can be found in evening primrose oil and fish oil.
• Avoid overexposure to sunlight or sunbathing. Children should wear clothe that covers their entire body, put on sun screen and a hat when out in the sun.
• If possible, avoid the sun during 11:00 -15:00 when the sun is most intense
• If sunlight exposure is unavoidable, cover up with clothing and put on sunscreen
• Regularly check for abnormality of the skin and if any is found, consult skincare professionals or dermatologists immediately. Thorough examinations should be done every 6 month – 1 year.
• Make sure your diet provides antioxidants or take antioxidant supplement more often per week, especially after being exposed to intense sunlight or being blisteringly burnt in order to enhance the capacity of the body to repair itself. If you are keen on sunbathing, include antioxidant in your diet or take antioxidant supplement regularly.
Nonetheless, you should seek professional advice if you find any warning signs for skin cancer. Especially if you have had skin cancer in the past, it is very likely that you may develop it again. Consulting specialists or doctors for preventive plans is thus very important for you. Do not delay or overlook treatment if you have strange looking moles, changes in the color, shape or size of the moles, or, any wounds that won’t go away. Keep in mind that early treatment can stop advancement of the disease.