Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Skin cancer is on the increase. However, most cases of skin cancer are easily treated and cured if detected in the early stages.
Types of skin cancer:
1.Non-melanoma skin cancer: it includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and are the most common forms of skin cancer. Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be cured.
2.Melanoma skin cancer: it is less likely to cause death when found and treated early. Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't guarantee that you will not get cancer. Non melanoma skin cancer risk factors include being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time, having a fair complexion (fair skin that freckles and burns easily, does not tan, or tans poorly, blue or green or other light-coloured eyes) red or blonde hair, having actinic keratosis, past treatment with radiation, having a weakened immune system and being exposed to arsenic. Melanoma skin cancer risk factors include being exposed to natural or artificial sunlight over long periods of time, having a fair complexion, having a history of many blistering sunburns especially as a child or teenager, having several large or many small moles, having a family history of unusual moles (atypical nevus syndrome), having a family or personal history of melanoma. Skin exams are used to screen for skin cancer. If you find a worrisome change, you should report it to your doctor. Regular skin checks by a doctor are important for people who have already had skin cancer. Although the sun is necessary for life, too much sun exposure can lead to adverse health effects, including skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can have a number of harmful effects on the skin. There are 2 types of UV rays – UVA and UVB. UVA rays, which are not absorbed by the ozone layer, penetrate deep into the skin and heavily contribute to premature aging. UVB Rays, which are partially absorbed by the ozone layer, mostly affect the surface of the skin and are the primary cause of sunburn. Both UVA and UV have been linked to skin cancer, skin colour changes, weakening of the immune system, premature aging of the skin and cataracts.
Everybody, regardless of race or ethnicity, is subject to the potential adverse effects of overexposure to the sun. However, people with fair skin are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun. Although people with darker skin have a lower incidence of skin cancer, they should still take action to protect their skin and eyes from overexposure to the sun, since cases of skin cancer in people with darker skin are often not detected until later stages when it is more dangerous. Certain diseases, such as lupus, can also make a person more sensitive to sun exposure. Some medications, such as antibiotics (tetracycline), ibuprofen, antihistamines and certain herbal remedies can cause extra sensitivity to the sun’s rays. Sunscreens protect your skin by absorbing and/or reflecting UVA and UVB rays. All sunscreens contain a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) label. The SPF reveals the relative amount of sunburn protection that a sunscreen can provide an average user when correctly used. Sunscreens with an SPF of at least 15 are recommended. An SPF of 15 protects the skin from 93 percent of UVB radiation, and an SPF 30 sunscreen provides 97 percent protection. Many sunscreen manufacturers include ingredients that protect the skin from some UVA rays as well. The active sunscreen ingredients will not usually block out the complete spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher 20 minutes before going out into the sun to give it time to absorb into your skin. Apply it generously and regularly. Do not forget about lips, ears, feet, hands, bald spots and the back of the neck. To thoroughly protect yourself, take the following steps:
- Do not burn in the sun
- Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds
- Wear protective clothing
- Seek shade
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand
- Watch for the UV index There is no such thing as a healthy suntan. Any change in your natural skin colour is a sign of skin damage. Most people get an adequate amount of vitamin D in their diets. If you are concerned about not getting enough vitamin D, consult your physician and consider taking a multivitamin supplement and consuming foods and beverages fortified with vitamin D daily. Because children will be exposed to UV radiation for their whole lives, it is important to engrain sun safety practices at an early age. Many parents do not properly apply sunscreen on their children. Sunscreen should be applied and reapplied to all exposed areas. Blistering sunburns during childhood significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
By teaching children about sun safety, parents will ensure that their children understand the dangers associated with sun exposure and the ways to avoid them. Keep babies out of direct sunlight. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends using sunscreen on infants for small areas such as the face and back of hands where protection from clothing is inadequate
The intensity of the sun’s UV rays reaching the Earth’ surface varies and should be considered when you plan outdoor activities. You can obtain your daily local UV index from the website.
The higher the UV Index forecast, the stronger the sun will be and the greater the need to follow all the sun protection action steps. In general, UV strength is greatest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during sunny summer days. Up to 80 percent of UV rays pass through clouds, however, meaning that sunburn is possible on cloudy days as well. UV exposure is greater at low latitudes (nearer to the equator) and/or high altitudes. Snow, water, and sand also increase sun exposure by reflecting incoming UV rays, making it especially important for skiers, boaters, and beachgoer to wear clothing and hats and apply sunscreen.